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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: Friedlander, Daniel; Burtless, Gary
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1995

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment...

    With welfare reforms tested in almost every state and plans for a comprehensive federal overall on the horizon, it is increasingly important for Americans to understand how policy changes are likely to affect the lives of welfare recipients. Five Years After tells the story of what happened to the welfare recipients who participated in the influential welfare-to-work experiments conducted by several states in the mid-1980s. The authors review the distinctive goals and procedures of evaluations performed in Arkansas, Baltimore, San Diego, and Virginia, and then examine five years of follow-up data to determine whether the initial positive impact on employment, earnings, and welfare costs held up over time. The results were surprisingly consistent. Low-cost programs that saved money by getting individuals into jobs quickly did little to reduce poverty in the long run. Only higher-cost educational programs enabled welfare recipients to hold down jobs successfully and stay off welfare.

    Five Years After ends speculation about the viability of the first generation of employment programs for welfare recipients, delineates the hard choices that must be made among competing approaches, and provides a well-documented foundation for building more comprehensive programs for the next generation. A sobering tale for welfare reformers of all political persuasions, this book poses a serious challenge to anyone who promises to end welfare dependency by cutting welfare budgets. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Berlin, Gordon; Bancroft, Wendy; Card, David; Lin, Winston; Robins, Philip K.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a large, innovative social demonstration and research project in Canada that tests an employment alternative to welfare. It makes work pay by offering a generous earnings supplement to long-term, single-parent welfare recipients who find full-time jobs and leave the Income Assistance (IA) welfare system. SSP seeks to answer this question: If work paid better than welfare, would welfare-dependent single parents take jobs and leave the welfare rolls?

    The project was also designed from the outset to learn about the potential unintended effects of welfare-based work incentives. This special study, described here, answers the question: If SSP is effective, will its generous earnings supplement encourage otherwise ineligible people to apply for or remain on welfare in order to qualify for its benefits? (author abstract)

    The Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP) is a large, innovative social demonstration and research project in Canada that tests an employment alternative to welfare. It makes work pay by offering a generous earnings supplement to long-term, single-parent welfare recipients who find full-time jobs and leave the Income Assistance (IA) welfare system. SSP seeks to answer this question: If work paid better than welfare, would welfare-dependent single parents take jobs and leave the welfare rolls?

    The project was also designed from the outset to learn about the potential unintended effects of welfare-based work incentives. This special study, described here, answers the question: If SSP is effective, will its generous earnings supplement encourage otherwise ineligible people to apply for or remain on welfare in order to qualify for its benefits? (author abstract)

  • 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: Rangarajan, Anu; Schochet, Peter; Chu, Dexter
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1998

    One of the most important themes of today’s welfare debate is the goal of moving mothers from welfare to work. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) includes strong incentives for state agencies to move recipients into the labor force. State and local policymakers now express significant interest in the issue of job retention and in designing programs to facilitate job retention or rapid reemployment. Anticipating this need, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to provide program operators and policymakers with useful information on issues related to labor force attachment for welfare recipients. In particular, ACF had two broad goals for this study: (1) to provide some benchmarks regarding the employment patterns of welfare recipients who find jobs and the factors associated with job loss or job retention; and (2) to shed light on the feasibility of targeting resources to those who are most likely to have long periods...

    One of the most important themes of today’s welfare debate is the goal of moving mothers from welfare to work. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA) includes strong incentives for state agencies to move recipients into the labor force. State and local policymakers now express significant interest in the issue of job retention and in designing programs to facilitate job retention or rapid reemployment. Anticipating this need, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. to provide program operators and policymakers with useful information on issues related to labor force attachment for welfare recipients. In particular, ACF had two broad goals for this study: (1) to provide some benchmarks regarding the employment patterns of welfare recipients who find jobs and the factors associated with job loss or job retention; and (2) to shed light on the feasibility of targeting resources to those who are most likely to have long periods of nonemployment. This report uses national data to examine the employment experiences of welfare recipients who find jobs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Brauner, Sarah; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1999

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare...

    Given welfare policies’ greater emphasis on leaving the rolls for work, interest has grown in determining how families that have left the program are faring. State and local governments, policymakers, and others want to know whether those who leave welfare ("leavers") are financially better off than when they were receiving benefits. The primary concern is whether leavers have found jobs and, if so, whether their hourly wages or hours per week are high enough to raise their families out of poverty. Policymakers and researchers would also like to know to what extent leavers are relying on other forms of federal, state, or local assistance.

    Many localities have sought to answer these questions through studies of leavers’ well-being. This brief summarizes findings on employment rates, characteristics of employment, and other determinants of well-being from 11 such studies conducted in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio (Cuyahoga County), South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. We focus on employment because of its key role in determining welfare leavers’ economic well-being. Because of the great number and variety of "leaver studies" being undertaken, we also point out issues to consider in comparing study results.

    Numerous studies of welfare leavers have been published, and more are being released all the time. We attempted to review all publicly available studies that examine employment outcomes. Only studies that clearly described their methodology and reported survey response rates of 50 percent or higher were included. While some studies that meet these criteria may have been missed, this brief presents results from a range of reports. (author introduction)

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