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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: Schulman, Karen ; Matthews, Hannah ; Blank, Helen ; Ewen, Danielle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the...

    Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) — a strategy to improve families’ access to high-quality child care — assess the quality of child care programs, offer incentives and assistance to programs to improve their ratings, and give information to parents about the quality of child care. These systems are operating in a growing number of states — 22 states had statewide QRIS and four additional states had QRIS in one or more of their communities as of 2010.

    The development and implementation of QRIS is also a central component of the Race to the Top-Early Learn­ing Challenge — a federally funded competitive grant program that encourages states to strengthen their early learning systems — which will likely spur addi­tional states to establish new or expand existing QRIS. Under QRIS, child care programs receive progressively higher ratings as they meet progressively higher quality standards. States vary significantly in their approaches to QRIS, including in the number of quality levels they have, the standards they set for achieving higher quality ratings, and the extent to which they provide financial and other supports to help programs improve. In most states, child care programs participate on a voluntary basis, although a few states require all regulated programs to participate. Despite these variations in their QRIS, states share a common objective of encouraging better child care options so that more families have access to high-quality child care that will support their children’s learning and development.

    Given that QRIS are used in a growing number of states and communities, it is helpful to examine the range of approaches these states and communities are taking in designing and implementing QRIS. It is also important to examine the opportunities and barriers for QRIS in achieving the goals of improving the quality of child care and increasing access to high-quality child care for families, particularly for the most vulnerable families. QRIS can be a tool for improving the quality of care accessed by low-income families who cannot afford high-quality care on their own. To gain more insight into different strategies for shaping and implementing QRIS, the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) interviewed 48 child care center directors from nine states about their experiences with QRIS. The directors offered valuable perspectives on what is working in their QRIS and how the systems could be improved. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Deka, Devajyoti; DiPetrillo, Stephanie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The primary objective of this research was to assess the “Last Mile” shuttles in New Jersey. “Last Mile” shuttles are the shuttles that provide passengers access from transit nodes such as rail stations to their destinations. In New Jersey, the term “Last Mile” shuttle is primarily used to describe shuttles that provide job access to workers from rail stations to work sites. Most, but not all, such shuttles in New Jersey are funded by the federal Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program. Transportation management associations and counties are the primary providers of the services.

    This research includes analysis of both primary and secondary data. At the outset of the research, 34 “Last Mile” Shuttle routes were identified for detailed analysis. All but one of these routes were mapped using Geographic Information System, and shuttle corridors were identified using ½ mile buffers around the routes. Secondary data on land uses, jobs, socioeconomic characteristics, housing characteristics, and commuting characteristics were used to distinguish the “Last Mile” corridors...

    The primary objective of this research was to assess the “Last Mile” shuttles in New Jersey. “Last Mile” shuttles are the shuttles that provide passengers access from transit nodes such as rail stations to their destinations. In New Jersey, the term “Last Mile” shuttle is primarily used to describe shuttles that provide job access to workers from rail stations to work sites. Most, but not all, such shuttles in New Jersey are funded by the federal Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program. Transportation management associations and counties are the primary providers of the services.

    This research includes analysis of both primary and secondary data. At the outset of the research, 34 “Last Mile” Shuttle routes were identified for detailed analysis. All but one of these routes were mapped using Geographic Information System, and shuttle corridors were identified using ½ mile buffers around the routes. Secondary data on land uses, jobs, socioeconomic characteristics, housing characteristics, and commuting characteristics were used to distinguish the “Last Mile” corridors from “First Mile” shuttle corridors, control corridors, and areas not served by shuttles. The comparisons showed that the “Last Mile” shuttle corridors are substantially richer than other areas in terms of jobs, especially in “blue collar” jobs, including manufacturing and warehousing. Regarding socioeconomic, housing, and commuting characteristics, the “Last Mile” shuttle corridors are similar to typical middle-class suburban areas with low population density and a high dependence on automobile for commuting.

    In addition to the analysis of secondary data for examining the characteristics of the shuttle corridors, an onboard survey was conducted on 18 shuttle routes, collecting data from 311 shuttle users. A vast majority of the respondents used shuttles for commuting purposes. The shuttle users were found to be of relatively young age, belonging to low-income and minority households. More than half of the shuttle users belonged to households without vehicles and 38% belonged to households with less than $25,000 household income. The characteristics of the passengers and the locations served by the shuttles clearly indicate that the shuttles are primarily serving population groups that are supposed to be served by JARC-funded projects. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Fraker, Thomas; Mamun, Arif; Manno, Michelle; Martinez, John; Reed, Debbie; Thompkins, Allison; Wittenburg, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) is a large - scale demonstration and evaluation sponsored by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve understanding of how to help youth with disabilities reach their full economic potential. In particular, SSA is interested in testing promising approaches for helping young people with disabilities become more self - sufficient and less reliant on disability benefits. The YTD conceptual framework, which was based on best practices in facilitating youth transition, specified that the six projects that participated in the evaluation provide employment services (emphasizing paid competitive employment), benefits counseling, links to services available in the community, and other assistance to youth with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the youth who received those services were eligible for SSA waivers of certain benefit program rules, which allowed them to retain more of their disability benefits and health insurance while they worked for pay. Using a rigorous random assignment methodology, the YTD evaluation team is...

    The Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) is a large - scale demonstration and evaluation sponsored by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve understanding of how to help youth with disabilities reach their full economic potential. In particular, SSA is interested in testing promising approaches for helping young people with disabilities become more self - sufficient and less reliant on disability benefits. The YTD conceptual framework, which was based on best practices in facilitating youth transition, specified that the six projects that participated in the evaluation provide employment services (emphasizing paid competitive employment), benefits counseling, links to services available in the community, and other assistance to youth with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the youth who received those services were eligible for SSA waivers of certain benefit program rules, which allowed them to retain more of their disability benefits and health insurance while they worked for pay. Using a rigorous random assignment methodology, the YTD evaluation team is assessing whether these services and incentives were effective in helping youth with disabilities achieve greater independence and economic self - sufficiency. The earliest of the evaluation projects began operations in 2006 and ended in 2009. The latest started in 2008 and ended in 2012.

    In this report, we present first - year evaluation findings for West Virginia Youth Works, which served youth ages 15 through 25 who were Social Security disability beneficiaries. While it will take several more years before we fully observe the transitions that the participants in this study make to adult life, early data from the evaluation provide rich information on how Youth Works operated and the differences it made in key outcomes for youth. Specifically, the report includes findings from our process analysis of Youth Works, including a description of the program model, and documentation of how the project was implemented and services were delivered. The report also includes impact findings, based on data collected 12 months after youth entered the evaluation, on the use of services, paid employment, educational progress, income from earnings and benefits, and attitudes and expectations. (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: The Urban Institute
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

     The overarching goal of the Choice Neighborhoods program (Choice) is to redevelop distressed assisted housing projects and transform the neighborhoods surrounding them into mixed-income, high-opportunity places. Choice builds on lessons learned during HOPE VI, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-running program to replace or rehabilitate distressed public housing. It maintains the emphasis of HOPE VI on public-private partnerships and mixed financing for replacing or rehabilitating assisted housing but extends eligibility to privately owned federally subsidized developments. It requires that grantees build at least one subsidized replacement housing unit for every assisted unit demolished in the target development. It also continues the emphasis of HOPE VI on protecting tenants during the redevelopment process and heightens aspirations to give existing tenants the opportunity to live in the redeveloped project upon its completion. It differs most from HOPE VI by providing funding for projects that create synergy between renovation of the target...

     The overarching goal of the Choice Neighborhoods program (Choice) is to redevelop distressed assisted housing projects and transform the neighborhoods surrounding them into mixed-income, high-opportunity places. Choice builds on lessons learned during HOPE VI, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) long-running program to replace or rehabilitate distressed public housing. It maintains the emphasis of HOPE VI on public-private partnerships and mixed financing for replacing or rehabilitating assisted housing but extends eligibility to privately owned federally subsidized developments. It requires that grantees build at least one subsidized replacement housing unit for every assisted unit demolished in the target development. It also continues the emphasis of HOPE VI on protecting tenants during the redevelopment process and heightens aspirations to give existing tenants the opportunity to live in the redeveloped project upon its completion. It differs most from HOPE VI by providing funding for projects that create synergy between renovation of the target development and revitalization efforts within the neighborhood surrounding the target development. Beyond providing funding for neighborhood investments, Choice also fosters partnerships among organizations, agencies, and institutions working throughout the neighborhood to build affordable housing, provide social services, care for and educate children and youth, ensure public safety, and revitalize the neighborhood’s commercial opportunities and infrastructure.

    This interim report provides a preliminary view of the first five Choice implementation sites: Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Seattle. (author abstract)

     

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