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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: Grubb, W. Norton
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    Over the past three decades, job training programs have proliferated in response to mounting problems of unemployment, poverty, and expanding welfare rolls. These programs and the institutions that administer them have grown to a number and complexity that make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to interpret their effectiveness. Learning to Work offers a comprehensive assessment of efforts to move individuals into the workforce, and explains why their success has been limited.

    Learning to Work offers a complete history of job training in the United States, beginning with the Department of Labor's manpower development programs in the 1960s and detailing the expansion of services through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act in the 1970s and the Job Training Partnership Act in the 1980s. Other programs have sprung from the welfare system or were designed to meet the needs of various state and corporate development initiatives. The result is a complex mosaic of welfare-to-work, second-chance training, and experimental programs, all with their own goals,...

    Over the past three decades, job training programs have proliferated in response to mounting problems of unemployment, poverty, and expanding welfare rolls. These programs and the institutions that administer them have grown to a number and complexity that make it increasingly difficult for policymakers to interpret their effectiveness. Learning to Work offers a comprehensive assessment of efforts to move individuals into the workforce, and explains why their success has been limited.

    Learning to Work offers a complete history of job training in the United States, beginning with the Department of Labor's manpower development programs in the 1960s and detailing the expansion of services through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act in the 1970s and the Job Training Partnership Act in the 1980s. Other programs have sprung from the welfare system or were designed to meet the needs of various state and corporate development initiatives. The result is a complex mosaic of welfare-to-work, second-chance training, and experimental programs, all with their own goals, methodology, institutional administration, and funding.

    Learning to Work examines the findings of the most recent and sophisticated job training evaluations and what they reveal for each type of program. Which agendas prove most effective? Do their effects last over time? How well do programs benefit various populations, from welfare recipients to youths to displaced employees in need of retraining? The results are not encouraging. Many programs increase employment and reduce welfare dependence, but by meager increments, and the results are often temporary. On average most programs boosted earnings by only $200 to $500 per year, and even these small effects tended to decay after four or five years. Overall, job training programs moved very few individuals permanently off welfare, and provided no entry into a middle-class occupation or income.

    Learning to Work provides possible explanations for these poor results, citing the limited scope of individual programs, their lack of linkages to other programs or job-related opportunities, the absence of academic content or solid instructional methods, and their vulnerability to local political interference. Author Norton Grubb traces the root of these problems to the inherent separation of job training programs from the more successful educational system. He proposes consolidating the two domains into a clearly defined hierarchy of programs that combine school- and work-based instruction and employ proven methods of student-centered, project-based teaching. By linking programs tailored to every level of need and replacing short-term job training with long-term education, a system could be created to enable individuals to achieve increasing levels of economic success.

    The problems that job training programs address are too serious too ignore. Learning to Work tells us what's wrong with job training today, and offers a practical vision for reform. (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: Fein, David J.; Beecroft, Eric; Long, David A.; Catalfamo, Andrée Rose
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to...

    In August 1999, Riverside Community College (RCC), in Riverside County, California, launched an innovative program designed to prepare welfare recipients for college and help them move to better jobs. Set on a community college campus, New Visions provides a 24-week program of academic instruction and support services, followed by up to five months of credit-bearing course work in an occupational mini-program. In order to be eligible, clients must have a high school diploma or GED and be working at least 20 hours a week. The program is a partnership between RCC and the Riverside County Department of Public Social Services (RCDPSS).

    Abt Associates Inc.’s five-year evaluation of New Visions is the first random assignment study of the effectiveness of a special college program for welfare recipients. The evaluation, which also includes a study of program implementation, will answer several important questions. The first is whether offering intensive supports encourages single parents on Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) to return to school after they have gone to work. The second is whether making work a condition of education and training increases motivation to learn and enhances short-run job retention and advancement opportunities. The third is whether providing remedial education and support services helps participants to succeed in regular college programs, thereby increasing their access to higher-paying jobs over the long run…

    This report reviews the literature on special programs for welfare recipients at two- and four-year colleges, describes the New Visions demonstration, and provides initial findings on program implementation and client experiences. The findings come at a very early juncture in the demonstration and are offered as an introduction to New Visions rather than as a preview of its likely outcomes. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kazis, Richard; Liebowitz, Marty
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    In recent years, interest has grown in the role of community colleges in helping low-skill and low-income individuals advance out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. In part, this interest is a reaction to the shortcomings of traditional workforce and adult education programs. It also reflects the impressive efforts of innovative community colleges to focus resources and leadership attention on strategies to improve postsecondary attainment, persistence, and program completion for lower-income working adults.

    MDRC’s Opening Doors to Earning Credentials project and its early reports echoed the conclusions of Norton Grubb, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and others regarding the potential of community colleges — that community colleges are the local educational institutions with the greatest potential for helping low-wage workers earn skills and credentials that lead to both educational and career advancement. At the same time, Opening Doors identified serious obstacles to realizing that potential, including the characteristics of the low-wage...

    In recent years, interest has grown in the role of community colleges in helping low-skill and low-income individuals advance out of poverty and toward self-sufficiency. In part, this interest is a reaction to the shortcomings of traditional workforce and adult education programs. It also reflects the impressive efforts of innovative community colleges to focus resources and leadership attention on strategies to improve postsecondary attainment, persistence, and program completion for lower-income working adults.

    MDRC’s Opening Doors to Earning Credentials project and its early reports echoed the conclusions of Norton Grubb, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, and others regarding the potential of community colleges — that community colleges are the local educational institutions with the greatest potential for helping low-wage workers earn skills and credentials that lead to both educational and career advancement. At the same time, Opening Doors identified serious obstacles to realizing that potential, including the characteristics of the low-wage workforce, the institutional structure and priorities of most community colleges, and the external policy environment in which they operate.

    MDRC has identified three strategies that might enable colleges to be more effective in helping working adults obtain college credentials. These are: (1) financial incentives that can address the high cost of college for low-income individuals; (2) student supports that can help working adults cope with academic, personal, and other problems that often result in their dropping or stopping out; and (3) program and curricular innovations and redesign that can cope with the severe time constraints, skill needs, and job advancement hopes of working adults.

    MDRC asked Jobs for the Future to look at curricular and program redesign strategies being used in community colleges today to speed advancement from lower levels of skill into credential programs and to shorten the time commitment that earning a credential demands of students. This paper presents a framework for understanding the range of experimentation with program and class reformatting and redesign. It identifies programs that exemplify promising approaches. The paper concludes with issues and questions that MDRC will need to address in assessing whether to proceed with a research program focused on program redesign efforts geared to working adults’ needs. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Melendez, Edwin
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2004

    The studies presented here constitute a significant step towards a comprehensive assessment of the role that community organizations played in revamping the employment services industry. Most importantly, they show how a new style of labor market intermediary has evolved from focusing almost exclusively on the provision of employment services to job seekers to simultaneously addressing the needs of both job seekers and employers (Author Abstract).

    The studies presented here constitute a significant step towards a comprehensive assessment of the role that community organizations played in revamping the employment services industry. Most importantly, they show how a new style of labor market intermediary has evolved from focusing almost exclusively on the provision of employment services to job seekers to simultaneously addressing the needs of both job seekers and employers (Author Abstract).

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