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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: Perez-Johnson, Irma; Moore, Quinn; Santillano, Robert
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Following passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment areas have been required to use individual training accounts (ITAs) to fund most occupational training activities. With some restrictions, customers of the One-Stop system can use ITAs to select training from a wide array of state-approved programs and providers. States and local offices have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to structure ITAs. At one extreme, local counselors can play a pivotal role in directing customers to particular training programs and closely tailoring ITA award amounts to each customer’s needs. At the other extreme, local staff can play a minor role, providing all customers with the same fixed ITA amounts, allowing customers to choose their training programs independently, and providing counseling only on request.

    This report presents long-term results from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering ITA services, with impacts measured six to eight years after program enrollment. The Employment and...

    Following passage of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment areas have been required to use individual training accounts (ITAs) to fund most occupational training activities. With some restrictions, customers of the One-Stop system can use ITAs to select training from a wide array of state-approved programs and providers. States and local offices have a great deal of flexibility in deciding how to structure ITAs. At one extreme, local counselors can play a pivotal role in directing customers to particular training programs and closely tailoring ITA award amounts to each customer’s needs. At the other extreme, local staff can play a minor role, providing all customers with the same fixed ITA amounts, allowing customers to choose their training programs independently, and providing counseling only on request.

    This report presents long-term results from an experimental evaluation of the effectiveness of three different models for delivering ITA services, with impacts measured six to eight years after program enrollment. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) at the U.S. Department of Labor designed the ITA experiment to provide federal, state, and local policymakers, administrators, and program managers with information on the tradeoffs inherent in different ITA service delivery models.

    As a part of the experiment, nearly 8,000 customers of One-Stop Centers in eight different sites were randomly assigned to one of the three ITA service delivery models tested in the ITA Experiment. These models varied along three policy-relevant dimensions (Table ES.1): (1) the ITA award structure (that is, whether the award amount was fixed for all customers or tailored to the customer’s needs); (2) required counseling (that is, whether ITA counseling was mandatory or optional, and its intensity); and (3) program approval (that is, whether counselors could reject customers’ training choices and deny an ITA, or had to approve them if the customer had completed his or her ITA requirements). (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: Bloom, Dan ; Scrivener,Susan ; Michalopoulos, Charles ; Morris, Pamela ; Hendra, Richard ; Adams-Ciardullo, Diana ; Walter, Johanna ; Vargas, Wanda
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Since its launch in 1996, Connecticut's Jobs First program has attracted national attention because it includes all the key elements of the 1990s welfare reforms: time limits, financial work incentives, and work requirements. Specifically, Jobs First limits families to 21 cumulative months of cash assistance unless they receive an exemption or extension. It includes an unusually generous financial work incentive that allows employed recipients to retain their full welfare grant as long as they earn less than the federal poverty level. And it requires recipients to work or to participate in employment services designed to help them find jobs quickly.

    Jobs First is a focus of policymaker interest, too, as one of the first programs of its kind to be subject to a rigorous, large-scale evaluation. MDRC studied Jobs First's effects under a contract with the Connecticut Department of Social Services. Nearly 5,000 single-parent welfare applicants and recipients in Manchester and New Haven were assigned, at random, to Jobs First or to the Aid to...

    Since its launch in 1996, Connecticut's Jobs First program has attracted national attention because it includes all the key elements of the 1990s welfare reforms: time limits, financial work incentives, and work requirements. Specifically, Jobs First limits families to 21 cumulative months of cash assistance unless they receive an exemption or extension. It includes an unusually generous financial work incentive that allows employed recipients to retain their full welfare grant as long as they earn less than the federal poverty level. And it requires recipients to work or to participate in employment services designed to help them find jobs quickly.

    Jobs First is a focus of policymaker interest, too, as one of the first programs of its kind to be subject to a rigorous, large-scale evaluation. MDRC studied Jobs First's effects under a contract with the Connecticut Department of Social Services. Nearly 5,000 single-parent welfare applicants and recipients in Manchester and New Haven were assigned, at random, to Jobs First or to the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) group, which was subject to the prior welfare rules. Jobs First's effects were estimated by comparing how the two groups fared over a four-year period. (Connecticut modified the Jobs First program after the period studied in this evaluation.) (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Miller, Cynthia; Pennington, Alexandra; Tessler, Betsy L.; Van Dok, Mark
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration was an innovative program designed to increase the incomes of low-wage workers. The program offered participating workers intensive employment retention and advancement services, including career coaching and access to skills training. It also offered them easier access to work supports, in an effort to increase their incomes in the short run and help stabilize their employment. Finally, both services were offered in one location — in existing One-Stop Career Centers created by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 — and by colocated teams of workforce and welfare staff. Services were provided to workers for two years between 2005 and 2010, and the program operated in three sites across the country: Bridgeport, Connecticut; Dayton, Ohio; and San Diego, California.

    This final report presents findings about the WASC program’s effects on the use of work supports, participation in training, employment, and earnings for up to four years after individuals entered the study. WASC...

    The Work Advancement and Support Center (WASC) demonstration was an innovative program designed to increase the incomes of low-wage workers. The program offered participating workers intensive employment retention and advancement services, including career coaching and access to skills training. It also offered them easier access to work supports, in an effort to increase their incomes in the short run and help stabilize their employment. Finally, both services were offered in one location — in existing One-Stop Career Centers created by the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) of 1998 — and by colocated teams of workforce and welfare staff. Services were provided to workers for two years between 2005 and 2010, and the program operated in three sites across the country: Bridgeport, Connecticut; Dayton, Ohio; and San Diego, California.

    This final report presents findings about the WASC program’s effects on the use of work supports, participation in training, employment, and earnings for up to four years after individuals entered the study. WASC increased workers’ receipt of work supports, although the effects varied substantially across the three sites, depending on how far the site could go toward simplification and how many workers in that site had already received work supports before the study began. Not surprisingly, the increases in work supports largely ended when the program ended, once these workers had to return to the existing benefits system. The two sites whose programs were able to offer participants easier access to funds for training substantially increased workers’ participation in education and training activities and their receipt of certificates and licenses. These same two programs led to impacts on earnings that emerged by the third year, although there is some suggestion that the effects faded after that point. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2005

    This report describes recent results from four studies of programs that supplemented the earnings of low-income adults. The four studies, which took place beginning in the early 1990s, are the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Milwaukee’s New Hope Project, and Connecticut’s Jobs First program. The programs’ supplements were intended to encourage work and to boost the income of adults who worked. Each was studied using a reliable research design that randomly assigned people to a program group that was eligible for earnings supplements or to a control group that was not. This report updates effects on economic outcomes after the earnings supplement programs ended. (author abstract)

    This report describes recent results from four studies of programs that supplemented the earnings of low-income adults. The four studies, which took place beginning in the early 1990s, are the Canadian Self-Sufficiency Project (SSP), the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Milwaukee’s New Hope Project, and Connecticut’s Jobs First program. The programs’ supplements were intended to encourage work and to boost the income of adults who worked. Each was studied using a reliable research design that randomly assigned people to a program group that was eligible for earnings supplements or to a control group that was not. This report updates effects on economic outcomes after the earnings supplement programs ended. (author abstract)

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