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The SSRC Library allows visitors to access materials related to self-sufficiency programs, practice and research. Visitors can view common search terms, conduct a keyword search or create a custom search using any combination of the filters at the left side of this page. To conduct a keyword search, type a term or combination of terms into the search box below, select whether you want to search the exact phrase or the words in any order, and click on the blue button to the right of the search box to view relevant results.

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  • Individual Author: Regenstein, Marsha; Meyer, Jack A.; Hicks, Jennifer Dickemper
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level...

    While much of the welfare reform debate has centered on the supply side of the labor market-how to motivate welfare recipients to search for and take jobs-less attention has been paid to the demand side. Under what conditions will employers hire people on welfare? What are their requirements and expectations? What kinds of jobs are available to people leaving welfare, and what pay and benefits are offered?

    This brief presents the key results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) as part of the Assessing the New Federalism project to determine employers' attitudes about hiring welfare recipients. The survey was predicated on the idea that if states have a better understanding of employers' attitudes and requirements, they will be better able to design successful approaches to moving people into jobs and helping them stay there.

    The survey included 500 businesses at the establishment level (e.g., individual stores, plants, or offices) in industries likely to have higher-than-average numbers of entry-level workers. The ESRI sample consists mostly of small employers with fewer than 50 workers. In order to gain insight into any potential differences in attitudes among establishments of different sizes, however, we oversampled those with 100 or more employees.

    We conducted an additional 200 interviews-100 each in Los Angeles and Milwaukee-to see how these two cities might differ from national responses. Both of these cities have large welfare populations. Milwaukee is considered a national leader in innovative welfare-to-work initiatives, while Los Angeles is a large urban area with a diverse population that includes many immigrants.

    Prior to undertaking the large national survey, we conducted a small exploratory telephone survey of 25 employers. Their responses, emerging from in-depth discussions, were very similar to the findings in the national sample. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Pugh, Margaret
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The time limits and work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law present a great challenge to large U.S. metropolitan areas, where hundreds of thousands of low-income people must find entry-level jobs. The welfare-to-work effort underway in American cities uncovers a phenomenon that many scholars already knew: there is a “spatial mismatch” between where workers live and where jobs are located, and low-income workers often have no easy way to travel between home and work.

    Officials at the federal, state, and local levels already are scrambling to solve spatial mismatch through transportation solutions, yet they lack solid information about what spatial mismatch is, why it occurs, and how best to remedy it through transportation. A review of empirical literature and practical work shows that not all metropolitan areas experience the same degree of spatial mismatch, and that policy solutions may vary from city to city.

    This discussion paper does three things. First, it proposes an index by which we could assess the degree of spatial mismatch and categorize...

    The time limits and work requirements of the 1996 welfare reform law present a great challenge to large U.S. metropolitan areas, where hundreds of thousands of low-income people must find entry-level jobs. The welfare-to-work effort underway in American cities uncovers a phenomenon that many scholars already knew: there is a “spatial mismatch” between where workers live and where jobs are located, and low-income workers often have no easy way to travel between home and work.

    Officials at the federal, state, and local levels already are scrambling to solve spatial mismatch through transportation solutions, yet they lack solid information about what spatial mismatch is, why it occurs, and how best to remedy it through transportation. A review of empirical literature and practical work shows that not all metropolitan areas experience the same degree of spatial mismatch, and that policy solutions may vary from city to city.

    This discussion paper does three things. First, it proposes an index by which we could assess the degree of spatial mismatch and categorize metropolitan areas according to the severity of mismatch. Second, it performs a preliminary categorization of five cities to illustrate the varying degrees of mismatch found among metropolitan areas with large welfare populations. Third, it makes both short and long term recommendations for federal and state policies. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.; Stoll, Michael A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare...

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare recipients, especially those who are minorities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Trutko, John; Strong, Debra
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency...

    The Welfare-to-Work (WtW) Grants Program, authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, provides federal funding to states and local organizations to help welfare recipients and other low-income parents move into employment, stay employed, and improve their economic situation. Low-income noncustodial parents (NCPs) (mainly fathers) of welfare children are among the main target groups for WtW services, along with custodial parents who are receiving cash assistance under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and moving from welfare to work. This focus reflects policymakers' growing interest in strategies to increase the employment and earnings of noncustodial fathers and thereby improve their ability to provide financial support for their children and play an active role in their lives.

    WtW grants represent a new source of funding for local work-focused services to NCPs. This report describes 11 local programs funded by WtW grants, in terms of the types of organizations operating the programs, the range of services offered, and the interagency collaborations in effect. No single strategy or set of services predominates. Rather, local grant recipients have discretion in developing and implementing program models, within the parameters of the WtW regulations. Thus, the experiences of these programs illustrate a variety of strategies and approaches that are being implemented around the nation and highlight key issues that must be addressed to serve this population group. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Burt, Martha R.; Pindus, Nancy M.; Capizzano, Jeffrey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive...

    This paper focuses on the ways in which the varied programs and services that comprised this social safety net worked for low-income families with children in late 1996 and early 1997, just before implementation of major federal welfare reforms. By "worked," we mean how easy or difficult it would have been for families on welfare—and for nonwelfare, working poor families—to get the services they needed from safety net programs. The crux of this issue lies in local service structures and the avenues they provide for client access to needed programs. A particularly important dimension of client access is whether the programs most likely to be approached by nonwelfare, working poor families are as well structured to help clients make connections to other needed services as are the programs most commonly used by clients on welfare.

    Our inquiry into local service delivery structures is grounded in the context of state choices and organizational structure. The paper begins with an overview of poverty and safety net program use in the 13 states that were the subject of intensive case studies during 1996 and 1997 as part of the Urban Institute's Assessing the New Federalism (ANF) project. Thereafter we look at where programs of interest are located in the state organizational structure, and the degree to which state control or local autonomy prevails in administering programs at the local level.

    Once the state context is understood, the paper shifts to the local level and the client perspective. It looks at access to services for welfare and nonwelfare families and asks whether differences in state organizational arrangements make a difference for clients' ability to access an array of services through local programs. It establishes a baseline in 1996-1997, describing the linkages as they existed in the 13 ANF intensive case study states. Against the background of this baseline, data being collected for the 1999-2000 wave of case studies will let us see how much PRWORA has changed the landscape of safety net programs.

    This paper focuses on specific elements of the social safety net, including income support programs such as AFDC, TANF, general assistance (GA),2 and food stamps; Job Opportunities and Basic Skills (JOBS) and other non-welfare-specific employment and training programs; the child support system; child care assistance; child welfare services; and Medicaid and other publicly supported health insurance for low-income families. These programs were selected for several reasons, including their historic linkages and their anticipated linkages under TANF. Historically, families receiving AFDC have been categorically eligible for Medicaid, and many states developed combined application procedures for AFDC, Medicaid, and food stamps. JOBS is specifically a work-readiness program for AFDC recipients, and states have been obliged to provide child care for any AFDC recipients required to participate in JOBS. Medicaid and child care have also been important transitional benefits to which many families leaving welfare were entitled for specified periods of time. PRWORA changed the relationships among these programs, in some instances delinking them and in others increasing the support requirements for current and former TANF recipients. (author introduction)

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