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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: 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: Gibson, Cynthia M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development...

    The Jobs Initiative, an eight-year demonstration, helps low-income residents find jobs that pay family-supporting wages in Denver, Milwaukee, New Orleans, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Seattle. "Entrepreneurial intermediaries," ranging from a private foundation to a city agency, manage six sites that take a dramatically different, long-term approach emphasizing comprehensive strategies that fuel community-based work force development. They have a dual customer focus, meeting needs of supply (workers) and demand (employer) sides; identify and secure entry-level jobs offering low-income people livable wages, benefits, and opportunities for wage and career advancement; build on job-seekers' strengths and respect their talent, dignity, and self reliance, while providing support services; increase dialogue, communication, and understanding among stakeholders; provide community-based organizations with sustained support and technical assistance; stress outcomes-based management; and suggest and provoke broader systemic change leading to more effective jobs and work force development programs and policies. Site results indicate that individuals placed in jobs had experienced significant hourly wage and earnings increases; more than twice as many had medical benefits; and more than half had been employed 12 months. Requirements for meeting workplace demands are employer engagement; employee retention and advancement; collaboration; and building organizational capacity. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fleischer, Wendy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This policy brief summarizes key results and lessons learned from Casey's Jobs Initiative as well as implications for federal welfare policy. Highlighting the efforts of six workforce development intermediaries, the brief summarizes a range of programs and strategies that help low-skilled, low-income workers in urban areas to improve their employment potential over time. (author abstract)

    This policy brief summarizes key results and lessons learned from Casey's Jobs Initiative as well as implications for federal welfare policy. Highlighting the efforts of six workforce development intermediaries, the brief summarizes a range of programs and strategies that help low-skilled, low-income workers in urban areas to improve their employment potential over time. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary; Opcin, Selen; Fishman, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In...

    Since 1993, welfare recipients have been leaving the welfare rolls for work in record numbers. From January 1993 to January 1998, welfare caseloads declined by 33 percent nationally, and several studies have estimated that over half of the adults who have left welfare have entered the labor market.(1) The inflow of welfare recipients into the labor market can be attributed to two basic factors: welfare reform and the strong economy. Welfare reform is widely perceived to have begun with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in mid-1996, which increased the number of welfare recipients who were required to seek work. But even prior to this legislation, many states were reshaping their Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) programs under waivers, which likely increased the number of welfare recipients entering the labor force in at least some of these states. In addition, the strong economy from 1993 to 1998 increased the availability of low-skill jobs and undoubtedly lured many welfare recipients into the low-skill labor market.

    Several other factors may have contributed to changes in labor market participation of welfare recipients and are worth mentioning. First, the federal government expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working low-income families in the early- and mid-1990s, which most likely encouraged some welfare recipients to enter the labor force. Second, the minimum wage increased in 1997, which could have offset downward wage pressure from the entry of welfare recipients into the labor force. Third, some regions of the country experienced significant changes in population, which reduced or increased the number of low-skill workers in these areas. Finally, the recession of the early 1990s created a pool of unemployed low-skill workers who were available to take new jobs when the economy began to recover.

    Policy-makers have been concerned about whether enough jobs will be available to employ the additional welfare recipients entering the labor market as a result of welfare reform. If a surplus of jobs is not available in particular areas, welfare recipients’ entry into the labor force might reduce low-skill wages and displace some workers. Policy-makers are especially concerned about the impact of welfare reform on rural and small metropolitan labor markets, because these markets might be less able to absorb the inflow of welfare recipients than urban labor markets.

    The Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) in the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) contracted with The Lewin Group to examine how well rural and small metropolitan labor markets can absorb welfare recipients, and to the extent feasible, estimate the impact of welfare reform on rural and small-metropolitan regions since 1993. This study uses an economic model to estimate the impact of welfare reform and improvements in the economy on the low-skill labor market, where most welfare recipients seek work. A major challenge facing researchers in this area is to distinguish between entry due to reforms (“welfare push”) and entry due to the strong economy (“demand pull”). This decomposition is necessary if we are to anticipate future conditions in the low-skill labor market, when the economy might not be so strong. We attempted such a decomposition in this report. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Acs, Gregory; Loprest, Pamela; Roberts, Tracy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), passed in 1996, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to states. Since that time, the federal cash assistance caseloads have dropped by over 50 percent, from 4.4 million in August, 1996 to 2.1 million in March, 2001. There is interest at the federal, state, and local levels in better understanding the circumstances of the unprecedented number of families that have left welfare, including their employment status, participation in public programs, and the overall well-being of both the leavers and their children.

    A host of state and policy researchers have examined the well-being of families leaving welfare in the post-reform era. These studies vary widely in the populations they study, how they define a welfare “leaver,” the outcomes that they examine and how those outcomes are measured, and in their methodological rigor. Consequently, it is difficult to use these studies to draw general conclusions...

    The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), passed in 1996, replaced the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grants to states. Since that time, the federal cash assistance caseloads have dropped by over 50 percent, from 4.4 million in August, 1996 to 2.1 million in March, 2001. There is interest at the federal, state, and local levels in better understanding the circumstances of the unprecedented number of families that have left welfare, including their employment status, participation in public programs, and the overall well-being of both the leavers and their children.

    A host of state and policy researchers have examined the well-being of families leaving welfare in the post-reform era. These studies vary widely in the populations they study, how they define a welfare “leaver,” the outcomes that they examine and how those outcomes are measured, and in their methodological rigor. Consequently, it is difficult to use these studies to draw general conclusions about the status of TANF leavers nationwide.

    In an effort to address the above questions about the circumstances of welfare leavers and to facilitate cross-state comparisons, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) of the United States the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) awarded competitive grants to select states and large counties in September, 1998, to conduct studies of families that have left the welfare rolls. This report reviews and synthesizes key findings from fifteen of the ASPE-funded leavers studies.

    The studies, made possible by an earmarked Congressional appropriation to study the outcomes of welfare reform, include both administrative and survey data on the well-being of families who left welfare. This synthesis includes information on welfare leavers’ employment and earnings, public assistance program participation, income and poverty status, material hardships, and child well-being. In addition to publishing reports, grantees constructed public-use files containing state or county administrative data and/or survey data. Public use data from several of the sites are analyzed in this report to examine key outcomes for subgroups that may not have been included in the grantees’ published reports.

    Following the devolution of welfare programs to the state level, ASPE chose a research strategy that combined local flexibility in study design with some efforts to develop comparable measures across the studies in order to facilitate cross-study comparisons. There remain important differences in welfare policies, economic conditions, and the characteristics of leavers across the fifteen study areas that may affect leavers’ post-TANF experiences. However, despite these differences, some clear general patterns emerge. (author abstract)

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