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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: Hastings, Sara; Tsoi-A-Fatt, Rhonda; Harris, Linda
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2010

    Many communities have shown tremendous commitment to youth employment. The return on investment and effort, however, can be greatly multiplied if federal youth funds, discretionary funding, resources from other youth serving systems, and community resources are brought together to build comprehensive youth employment system. Key elements of such a system include: a strong convening entity, an effective administrative agent, a well-trained case management arm, strong partnerships across systems that serve youth, and high quality work experience and career exposure. (author abstract)

    Many communities have shown tremendous commitment to youth employment. The return on investment and effort, however, can be greatly multiplied if federal youth funds, discretionary funding, resources from other youth serving systems, and community resources are brought together to build comprehensive youth employment system. Key elements of such a system include: a strong convening entity, an effective administrative agent, a well-trained case management arm, strong partnerships across systems that serve youth, and high quality work experience and career exposure. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Molina, Frieda; Nelson, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    This first publication from the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI), a project that is developing innovative place-based employment strategies in several inner-city communities, introduces NJI's rationale and design. It describes the early steps taken in each of five low-income communities to define a local neighborhood-focused employment strategy, and it documents the challenges faced in the early phase of NJI implementation. (author abstract)

    This first publication from the Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI), a project that is developing innovative place-based employment strategies in several inner-city communities, introduces NJI's rationale and design. It describes the early steps taken in each of five low-income communities to define a local neighborhood-focused employment strategy, and it documents the challenges faced in the early phase of NJI implementation. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Molina, Frieda; Howard, Craig
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2003

    Traditional employment programs have tried to address poverty by focusing on efforts that assist individuals. The Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI) took a different approach. It sought to alleviate concentrated poverty by raising employment levels of entire neighborhoods to match the level prevailing in their metropolitan regions. NJI developers hypothesized that such concentrated efforts, if successful, would gradually transform low-income communities, representing a new approach to neighborhood revitalization. Community organizations with strong ties to neighborhood residents were engaged to lead these efforts. Each was charged with responsibility for identifying ambitious and concrete employment targets and mobilizing public and private partners to reach the targeted outcomes.

    Drawing upon the experiences of the lead community organizations during the initiative’s implementation phase, this third and final NJI report begins to answer the overarching questions first posed by MDRC and its funding partners: Is it possible to realize large employment outcomes in targeted...

    Traditional employment programs have tried to address poverty by focusing on efforts that assist individuals. The Neighborhood Jobs Initiative (NJI) took a different approach. It sought to alleviate concentrated poverty by raising employment levels of entire neighborhoods to match the level prevailing in their metropolitan regions. NJI developers hypothesized that such concentrated efforts, if successful, would gradually transform low-income communities, representing a new approach to neighborhood revitalization. Community organizations with strong ties to neighborhood residents were engaged to lead these efforts. Each was charged with responsibility for identifying ambitious and concrete employment targets and mobilizing public and private partners to reach the targeted outcomes.

    Drawing upon the experiences of the lead community organizations during the initiative’s implementation phase, this third and final NJI report begins to answer the overarching questions first posed by MDRC and its funding partners: Is it possible to realize large employment outcomes in targeted communities? Are community-based organizations (CBO) effective vehicles for mobilizing, brokering, and delivering employment programs to underemployed and unemployed residents of low-income communities? What programmatic elements appear to contribute to the goal of raising employment levels in targeted communities?

    Key Findings

    • Efforts to quantify precisely what was meant by “large employment outcomes” represented a turning point in the initiative and served as a catalyst for bringing partners to the table. Early attempts to implement the vision of NJI faltered when the sites used abstract goals related to the nature and level of expected employment gains. The lead CBOs were unable to convey to partners what scale of effort would be required to realize large outcomes, and they were unable to gauge progress along the way. Once the employment targets were identified and the partners understood and committed to these targets, it became easier for the CBOs to mobilize the levels of effort needed to reach a larger scale of employment outcomes.

    • To succeed in reaching community-level employment targets, NJI required an extraordinary effort by the CBOs and their partners. NJI required dedicated organizational, human, and financial resources to be successful. Distinct staff capacities were required at different stages of the initiative, and the lead organization had to be willing to give NJI priority over its other activities and be prepared to dedicate a significant amount of senior staff’s time to the effort.

    • CBOs with strong neighborhood connections are ideally suited for mobilizing residents and partners to achieve positive programmatic advantages. The quality of CBO relationships with neighborhood residents and knowledge of their employment barriers contributed to the type, quality, and accessibility of employment services offered, thereby improving early progress in reaching their employment targets.

    • The scale of operations achieved by NJI sites suggests that it is possible to raise employment rates in low-income neighborhoods. The initiative ended after just two years of program implementation, and none of the sites had achieved its five-year saturation targets within the time allocated. But early achievements suggest that a number of sites were on a trajectory to realize large outcomes, thereby changing the employment profiles of their respective communities.

    • A neighborhood-focused employment saturation strategy is not appropriate for all low income neighborhoods. The NJI experience suggests that more stable neighborhoods with strong local identities experience the greatest benefit from a place-based employment approach like NJI..
    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Paulsell, Diane; Max, Jeffrey; Derr, Michelle; Burwick, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce...

    The public workforce investment system aims to serve all job seekers, but many of those most in need of help do not use it. Language barriers, dislike or fear of government agencies, limited awareness of available services, and difficulties using self-directed services are some of the challenges that may limit the accessibility of the system. While not traditionally partners in the workforce investment system, small, grassroots faith-based and community organizations (FBCOs) may be well positioned to serve people who do not currently use the public workforce system. Some job seekers may be more likely to access services from FBCOs because they typically have earned the trust of local community members and understand their needs. Moreover, FBCOs often provide personal, flexible, and comprehensive services that are well suited to people who face multiple barriers to employment.

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has recognized that by filling a service gap and serving some of the neediest populations, FBCOs have the potential to be valuable partners in the workforce investment system. Collaborating with FBCOs may also allow the government to leverage its workforce investment funds by taking advantage of the volunteers, donated goods and services, and other resources FBCOs are often able to access. Moreover, an FBCO’s knowledge of its community and its needs may help workforce investment agencies plan and deliver services more effectively.

    Collaborations between government agencies and FBCOs may not, however, come easily. In many communities, workforce investment agencies and grassroots FBCOs have little experience working together. Government agencies may not know about the work of FBCOs, and FBCOs may be unaware of the ways that public agencies could help their clients. Each may perceive the other’s mission as different from its own. In addition, government agencies may be concerned about their customers’ rights and legal issues when services are provided by faith-based organizations (FBOs), and the limited administrative and service capacity of some FBCOs may also be a barrier to collaborative relationships.

    Cognizant of the potential barriers to these collaborations, DOL has since 2002 granted over $30 million to promote and sustain collaborations between FBCOs and the workforce investment system. These grants have been made to FBCOs, states, intermediaries, and Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs). Intermediaries are larger nonprofit faith- or community-based agencies that can facilitate collaboration with smaller, grassroots organizations. WIBs are state or local entities that oversee the local workforce investment systems. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: The Finance Project
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2010

    Through increases in Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Services funding, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) brought significant federal support for summer youth employment programs across the nation in 2009. As a result many states and localities successfully expanded summer employment opportunities for youth. However, dedicated federal funding seems unlikely as state and local leaders seek to sustain summer youth employment efforts in 2010. Leaders can consider several creative financing strategies to maintain employment opportunities for youth this summer and in the years to come.

    This promising practice profile highlights effective strategies that three localities have used to finance and sustain summer youth employment efforts. Youth program leaders in New York City, Seattle-King County, and Hartford, Connecticut successfully engaged partners, utilized technology, and blended an array of funding sources to expand their summer youth employment programs in 2009. These efforts will help to maintain summer youth employment opportunities despite the...

    Through increases in Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Services funding, the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) brought significant federal support for summer youth employment programs across the nation in 2009. As a result many states and localities successfully expanded summer employment opportunities for youth. However, dedicated federal funding seems unlikely as state and local leaders seek to sustain summer youth employment efforts in 2010. Leaders can consider several creative financing strategies to maintain employment opportunities for youth this summer and in the years to come.

    This promising practice profile highlights effective strategies that three localities have used to finance and sustain summer youth employment efforts. Youth program leaders in New York City, Seattle-King County, and Hartford, Connecticut successfully engaged partners, utilized technology, and blended an array of funding sources to expand their summer youth employment programs in 2009. These efforts will help to maintain summer youth employment opportunities despite the possibility of diminished federal support in 2010. (author abstract)

    The original hyperlink to this resource has been removed by the publisher. You may obtain a single use PDF by emailing the SSRC at ssrc@opressrc.org.

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