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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: Murphy-Erby, Yvette; Hamilton, Leah; Shobe, Marcia; Christy, Kameri; Hampton-Stover, Elena; Jordan, Shikkiah
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Many states are implementing asset development strategies to promote postsecondary education for low- to moderate-income families, realizing that limited education is a powerful predictor of poverty, and poverty mediates the likelihood of obtaining postsecondary education. Using demographic and qualitative data collected from two groups of low- to moderate-income parents (N = 24), this article highlights two programs that promote savings and increase post-secondary education for these children and families. The 21st Century Scholars Program targets youths, and the complementary Educational Development Accounts program targets their parents. This article also explores perspectives of the participants’ experiences, beliefs, and perceptions relative to savings and education and the success of their children in these areas. It concludes with implications for asset-building programs and policy whose aim is to assist low- to moderate-income families in achieving economic and educational mobility and implications for social welfare policy. (author abstract)

    Many states are implementing asset development strategies to promote postsecondary education for low- to moderate-income families, realizing that limited education is a powerful predictor of poverty, and poverty mediates the likelihood of obtaining postsecondary education. Using demographic and qualitative data collected from two groups of low- to moderate-income parents (N = 24), this article highlights two programs that promote savings and increase post-secondary education for these children and families. The 21st Century Scholars Program targets youths, and the complementary Educational Development Accounts program targets their parents. This article also explores perspectives of the participants’ experiences, beliefs, and perceptions relative to savings and education and the success of their children in these areas. It concludes with implications for asset-building programs and policy whose aim is to assist low- to moderate-income families in achieving economic and educational mobility and implications for social welfare policy. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Roberts, Brandon; Price, Derek
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In 2007, the Joyce Foundation launched Shifting Gears, a state policy initiative designed to promote regional economic growth by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in six Midwestern states. These states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin—were tasked to create more seamless pathways to postsecondary credentials and good jobs for lower-skilled adults. The initiative was developed in the wake of a particularly marked transition in the Midwest from largely industrial economies structured around manufacturing to more diversified economies that promised new growth and new jobs. CLASP played a key role in Shifting Gears as the managing intermediary of the overall initiative and the primary provider of technical assistance.

    A recently released evaluation report covering the first five years of the initiative discusses the progress these states have made to-date and outlines the activities that contributed most to their success. The report finds that four core activities were critical to the success of the Shifting Gears states:...

    In 2007, the Joyce Foundation launched Shifting Gears, a state policy initiative designed to promote regional economic growth by improving the education and skills training of the workforce in six Midwestern states. These states—Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin—were tasked to create more seamless pathways to postsecondary credentials and good jobs for lower-skilled adults. The initiative was developed in the wake of a particularly marked transition in the Midwest from largely industrial economies structured around manufacturing to more diversified economies that promised new growth and new jobs. CLASP played a key role in Shifting Gears as the managing intermediary of the overall initiative and the primary provider of technical assistance.

    A recently released evaluation report covering the first five years of the initiative discusses the progress these states have made to-date and outlines the activities that contributed most to their success. The report finds that four core activities were critical to the success of the Shifting Gears states:

    Strengthening alignment and collaboration across the adult education, workforce, and community and technical college systems;

    Achieving buy-in and commitment of senior state leadership to advance the chosen state strategy;

    Enacting changes to specific state policies and regulations affecting local programs and delivery, which provided an impetus for local champions to pursue the specified innovative strategy; and

    Engaging the field of local practitioners and administrators intentionally and repeatedly to create local champions.

     The report emphasized that the first five years of Shifting Gears were always intended to be foundational—setting the groundwork for longer-term success and scale. To that point, the core activities found critical to their success reflect a state focus on relationship building and policy change in these initial years, rather than taking new approaches to scale. Still, the evaluators found that four states achieved significant progress toward systemic change and together—due to the states’ efforts--reached about 4,000 low-skilled students, who may have otherwise been unable to access marketable postsecondary credentials.

    States are expected to continue on this positive trajectory. In fact, several are continuing to build upon their Shifting Gears efforts.

    Illinois is expanding its use of bridge programs developed under Shifting Gears through the Accelerating Opportunity initiative and is building bridge programs into manufacturing career pathways through a Workforce Innovation Fund grant from the U.S. Department of Labor.

    Minnesota has received funding from the Joyce Foundation to continue its work under the Shifting Gears initiative into 2013-14 and has recently been selected to participate in an initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to integrate existing career-technical education pathways into broader state system reforms initiated under Shifting Gears.

    Wisconsin has also received funding from the Joyce Foundation for continued Shifting Gears work until 2013-14 and received a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to conduct activities that expand upon the foundation built through Shifting Gears.

    Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin are participating in a CLASP-led project, the Alliance for Quality Career Pathways, which is bringing together the expertise from leading career pathways states to identify criteria for high-quality career pathways systems and a set of shared performance metrics for measuring and managing their success. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wheaton, Laura; Durham, Christin; Loprest, Pamela J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    This report describes work in Connecticut, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin to link Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with other administrative data for operational and research purposes. The report describes the agencies and organizations involved, each state’s planning process, goals, and achievements, and the Urban Institute’s role as technical assistance contractor. All four states proposed linkages with the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), but two states dropped these plans after learning of costs and limitations of the NDNH. The report concludes with recommendations for supporting future state efforts and for facilitating research use of the NDNH. (author abstract)

    This report describes work in Connecticut, Indiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin to link Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) with other administrative data for operational and research purposes. The report describes the agencies and organizations involved, each state’s planning process, goals, and achievements, and the Urban Institute’s role as technical assistance contractor. All four states proposed linkages with the National Directory of New Hires (NDNH), but two states dropped these plans after learning of costs and limitations of the NDNH. The report concludes with recommendations for supporting future state efforts and for facilitating research use of the NDNH. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Wood, Robert G.; Moore, Quinn; Clarkwest, Andrew; Killewald, Alexandra; Monahan, Shannon
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement...

    The Building Strong Families (BSF) evaluation assessed the impacts of eight programs offering a similar model of healthy marriage and relationship skills and support services to interested low-income unmarried parents around the time of the birth of a child.  While many unmarried parents live together when their children are born, their relationships are often tenuous and most end within a few years of the child’s birth. Research suggests that children do better when raised by both of their parents in healthy environments.  The BSF program model included curricula-based group workshops on relationship skills; individual support from family coordinators; and assessment and referral to other needed services. The key question addressed through the BSF evaluation is whether the interventions improved the quality of unmarried parents’ relationships, increased the likelihood that they remained together, and improved the well-being of children. This report presents final impact results from data collected 36 months after couples enrolled in the study.  A separate technical supplement details the analytic approaches and includes additional analyses. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Powers, Elizabeth T.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    Fast-food establishments in Illinois and Indiana were surveyed during a period of state-mandated minimum-wage increases in Illinois. While entry-level wages of Illinois establishments rose substantially in response to the mandated increases, there is little evidence that Illinois establishments ameliorated wage increases by delaying scheduled raises or reducing fringe benefit offerings. There is little evidence of ‘labor-labor’ substitution in favor of women, better educated, or teenaged workers, or increased worker tenure at the new wage, but weak evidence of increased food prices. In contrast, there are large declines in part-time positions and workers’ hours in Illinois relative to Indiana. Aggregate figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics support relative declines in total fast-food employment in ‘downstate’ Illinois counties, as hypothesized. However, establishments’ responses do not appear proportionate to the strength of the minimum wage change. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a...

    Fast-food establishments in Illinois and Indiana were surveyed during a period of state-mandated minimum-wage increases in Illinois. While entry-level wages of Illinois establishments rose substantially in response to the mandated increases, there is little evidence that Illinois establishments ameliorated wage increases by delaying scheduled raises or reducing fringe benefit offerings. There is little evidence of ‘labor-labor’ substitution in favor of women, better educated, or teenaged workers, or increased worker tenure at the new wage, but weak evidence of increased food prices. In contrast, there are large declines in part-time positions and workers’ hours in Illinois relative to Indiana. Aggregate figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics support relative declines in total fast-food employment in ‘downstate’ Illinois counties, as hypothesized. However, establishments’ responses do not appear proportionate to the strength of the minimum wage change. (author abstract)

    This article is based on a working paper published by the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan.

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