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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: Holzer, Harry J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found...

    In this paper I use data from a recent survey of employers to investigate the effects of employer skill needs on the wage levels and employment of newly hired workers, and especially on how these outcomes differ by race and gender. The skill needs are measured by various human capital credentials required of applicants at the hiring stage (educational attainment, specific experience, prior training) and by the daily task performance of those who are newly hired (reading/writing, arithmetic, use of computers).

    The results show that few new jobs are available to those workers who lack most of these credentials or who cannot perform most of these tasks. This is true even of jobs that do not require applicants to have college degrees.

    The hiring and task performance requirements of new jobs are associated with lower employment levels of blacks relative to whites within each gender, and some tasks are associated with higher employment levels of females relative to males. These requirements also have significant effects on starting hourly wages. Both effects are found even after controlling for the educational attainments of hired workers.

    The effects of employer skill needs on employment patterns and wages help to account for some of the observed differences across groups in hourly wages, especially between black and white males, after controlling for education. Recent trends over time in relative wages and employment across these groups also seem to be quite consistent with these findings, along with evidence that these skill needs have been rising among employers.

    In addition, I find that various other employer characteristics such as their size, location, and the racial composition of their clientele also have significant effects on their tendencies to hire blacks. These findings suggest that employer preferences across racial groups play some role in determining employment outcomes of these groups, even after controlling for skill needs. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: U.S. Congress
    Reference Type: Statute
    Year: 1996

    This statute ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children welfare entitlement program, replacing it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant program, which provides cash assistance to needy families and requires families to make verifiable work efforts to leave welfare. It also allowed funds to be used to encourage the maintenance and formation of two-parent families. A second block grant under the statute provided funds to states to subsidize child care for low-income families.

    Public Law No. 104-193 (1996).

    This statute ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children welfare entitlement program, replacing it with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grant program, which provides cash assistance to needy families and requires families to make verifiable work efforts to leave welfare. It also allowed funds to be used to encourage the maintenance and formation of two-parent families. A second block grant under the statute provided funds to states to subsidize child care for low-income families.

    Public Law No. 104-193 (1996).

  • Individual Author: Rangarajan, Anu
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 1996

    To collect information about employment paths out of welfare and to test innovative ways to promote job retention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) initiated the Post-employment Services Demonstration (PESD). Newly employed welfare recipients in four sites were identified and enrolled in the demonstration. Individuals were assigned at random to an enhanced-services group (program group) or to a regular-services group (control group). Those in the program group had a case manager who helped identify their needs and provided special services to promote job retention. They also provided rapid re-employment services for those who lost jobs. Using qualitative data from focus groups with clients, staff interviews, and client case files, we examined the experiences of newly employed welfare recipients during their transition from welfare to work. Like other single parents who find work, welfare recipients experience many new situations and difficulties. They have to find affordable and reliable child care and transportation, budget for new work expenses, and meet...

    To collect information about employment paths out of welfare and to test innovative ways to promote job retention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) initiated the Post-employment Services Demonstration (PESD). Newly employed welfare recipients in four sites were identified and enrolled in the demonstration. Individuals were assigned at random to an enhanced-services group (program group) or to a regular-services group (control group). Those in the program group had a case manager who helped identify their needs and provided special services to promote job retention. They also provided rapid re-employment services for those who lost jobs. Using qualitative data from focus groups with clients, staff interviews, and client case files, we examined the experiences of newly employed welfare recipients during their transition from welfare to work. Like other single parents who find work, welfare recipients experience many new situations and difficulties. They have to find affordable and reliable child care and transportation, budget for new work expenses, and meet the new demands of the workplace. In addition, welfare mothers often have to deal with new income reporting and accounting rules to continue to receive welfare and other benefits, including transitional child care and transitional Medicaid. Many welfare recipients also find low-paying entry-level positions in occupations with irregular hours or shifts that change to accommodate fluctuating workloads. These circumstances complicate child care and budgeting challenges. Compounding these new demands, many welfare recipients have little in the way of a social support network to help them weather some of the crises that affect their ability to hold a job. In fact, many welfare recipients report that friends and families undermine their efforts to attain self-sufficiency through work. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ong, Paul M.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1996

    One barrier facing many welfare recipients is their geographic isolation from employment opportunities. Given the sprawling, automobile-oriented, urban structure of most U.S. cities, owning an automobile enables a welfare recipient to conduct a geographically broader job search, to accept offers farther away from home, to improve work attendance, and to keep the commute burden to a reasonable level. Data from a survey of more than 1,000 female heads of household in California receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children revealed that those owning an automobile enjoyed a significant advantage in terms of higher employment rates and total earnings. Given that automobiles are instrumental to better employment, welfare reform should facilitate the ownership of reliable transportation through modifications of eligibility requirements and the creation of support services. (journal abstract)

    One barrier facing many welfare recipients is their geographic isolation from employment opportunities. Given the sprawling, automobile-oriented, urban structure of most U.S. cities, owning an automobile enables a welfare recipient to conduct a geographically broader job search, to accept offers farther away from home, to improve work attendance, and to keep the commute burden to a reasonable level. Data from a survey of more than 1,000 female heads of household in California receiving Aid to Families with Dependent Children revealed that those owning an automobile enjoyed a significant advantage in terms of higher employment rates and total earnings. Given that automobiles are instrumental to better employment, welfare reform should facilitate the ownership of reliable transportation through modifications of eligibility requirements and the creation of support services. (journal abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta,...

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Detroit—this volume provides a wealth of data on what jobs are available to the less-educated, in what industries, what skills they require, where they are located, what they pay, and how they are filled.

    The evidence points to a dramatic surge in suburban, white-collar jobs. The manufacturing industry—once a steady employer of blue-collar workers—has been eclipsed by the expanding retail trade and service industries, where the vast majority of jobs are in clerical, managerial, or sales positions. Since manufacturing establishments have been the most likely employers to move from the central cities to the suburbs, the shortage of jobs for low-skill urban workers is particularly acute. In the central cities, the problem is compounded and available jobs remain vacant because employers increasingly require greater cognitive and social skills as well as specific job-related experience. Holzer reveals the extent to which minorities are routinely excluded by employer recruitment and screening practices that rely heavily on testing, informal referrals, and stable work histories. The inaccessible location and discriminatory hiring patterns of suburban employers further limit the hiring of black males in particular, while earnings, especially for minority females, remain low.

    Proponents of welfare reform often assume that stricter work requirements and shorter eligibility periods will effectively channel welfare recipients toward steady employment and off federal subsidies. What Employers Want directly challenges this premise and demonstrates that only concerted efforts to close the gap between urban employers and inner city residents can produce healthy levels of employment in the nation's cities. Professor Holzer outlines the measures that will be necessary—targeted education and training programs, improved transportation and job placement, heightened enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, and aggressive job creation strategies. Repairing urban labor markets will not be easy. This book shows why. (author abstract) 

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