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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: Wiedrich, Kasey; Griffin, Kate; Chilton, Mariana; Lehman, Gretchen
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2014

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    ...

    Studies show that low-income families are more likely to be unbanked and “underbanked” than families with higher earnings. Lacking a bank account or depending on alternative financial services leads to significant financial barriers for low-income families that hinder economic growth and social mobility. This session will evaluate strategies that local and state human services agencies are testing to equip TANF recipients with the financial knowledge and resources they need to overcome barriers to financial security, including ACF’s Asset Initiative Partnership. Gretchen Lehman (Administration for Children and Families) will moderate this session.

    • Financial Counseling and Financial Access for the Financially Vulnerable

    Kasey Wiedrich (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation examines financial management strategies among low-income families.  Two research studies are described: Children's HealthWatch and Witnesses to Hunger.

    • Building Economic Self-Sufficiency of TANF Clients Through Financial Education and Matched Savings

    Kate Griffin (Corporation for Enterprise Development)

    The presentation describes data from a financial education program for TANF recipients that provides training in budgeting and credit management.  The pilot was started in July 2013 with the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

    • Financial Management Strategies of TANF and SNAP Recipients: Lessons for Policy Makers and Administrators

    Mariana Chilton (Drexel University)

    The presentation describes a completed research project that looks at the impact of the AFCO financial counseling program for families leaving TANF and entering into a work-ready context.

    These presentations were given at the 2014 Welfare Research and Evaluation Conference (WREC).

  • Individual Author: De Vita, Carol J.; Simms, Margaret; de Leon, Erwin; Fyffe, Saunji; Morley, Elaine; O'Brien, Carolyn T.; Rohacek, Monica; Scott, Molly M.; Ting, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $1 billion was provided to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) network to supplement existing CSBG funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in local areas and develop strong, healthy, and supportive communities. This report presents the findings of an extensive evaluation to document the services, promising practices, and challenges that emerged during the CSBG ARRA initiative. ARRA represented an unprecedented infusion of funding, accompanied by increased monitoring and accountability. The lessons learned have valuable implications for CSBG and the CSBG network. Fieldwork was conducted in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington. (author abstract)

    Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), $1 billion was provided to the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) network to supplement existing CSBG funds to alleviate the causes and conditions of poverty in local areas and develop strong, healthy, and supportive communities. This report presents the findings of an extensive evaluation to document the services, promising practices, and challenges that emerged during the CSBG ARRA initiative. ARRA represented an unprecedented infusion of funding, accompanied by increased monitoring and accountability. The lessons learned have valuable implications for CSBG and the CSBG network. Fieldwork was conducted in California, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington. (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: Linderman, Donna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    In January 2007 the City University of New York (CUNY) received funding from the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) to establish the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). The ASAP program is designed to help students earn their Associate’s degree as quickly as possible, with a target of 50% of students graduating within three years. In fall 2007 ASAP began with a pilot cohort of 1,132 students who were deemed fully skills proficient in reading, writing, and math. The fall 2007 ASAP cohort included 319 students (28%) who had been conditionally accepted in summer 2007 while they completed any required developmental courses in order to join the program.  

    ASAP students entered into full-time study in Associate’s degree programs closely related to future employment prospects and transferability to 4-year colleges. The program is located at all six CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community, Bronx, Hostos, Kingsborough, La Guardia, and Queensborough.  

    The ASAP program brings together a set of comprehensive services and incentives...

    In January 2007 the City University of New York (CUNY) received funding from the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO) to establish the Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP). The ASAP program is designed to help students earn their Associate’s degree as quickly as possible, with a target of 50% of students graduating within three years. In fall 2007 ASAP began with a pilot cohort of 1,132 students who were deemed fully skills proficient in reading, writing, and math. The fall 2007 ASAP cohort included 319 students (28%) who had been conditionally accepted in summer 2007 while they completed any required developmental courses in order to join the program.  

    ASAP students entered into full-time study in Associate’s degree programs closely related to future employment prospects and transferability to 4-year colleges. The program is located at all six CUNY community colleges: Borough of Manhattan Community, Bronx, Hostos, Kingsborough, La Guardia, and Queensborough.  

    The ASAP program brings together a set of comprehensive services and incentives that have been identified as being helpful to improving the retention, performance, and graduation rates of community college students (Bailey and Alfonso, 2005; Kuh, Buckley, Bridges, & Hayek, 2007; Tinto, 1993). Financial incentives include tuition waivers for financial-aid eligible students and free monthly Metrocards and use of textbooks for all students.  Key program elements include required full-time study, a consolidated course schedule, cohort grouping by majors, small class size, comprehensive advisement, academic, and career development services delivered by full-time ASAP staff, and a range of special programs.  

    Community college students often have multiple responsibilities, and face significant barriers to fulltime study and degree completion. According to the CUNY Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), 18% of CUNY community college students are supporting at least one child, most of whom are under five years of age; 33% of CUNY community college students spend at least six hours per week providing care for other people; 66% of CUNY community college students work at least part time; and 75% are from households with annual incomes below $40,000. While the vast majority of CUNY community college students begin their studies on a full-time basis (87% for the fall 2002 cohort), nearly half, 45%, drop to part-time status in one or more subsequent semesters, significantly reducing the likelihood of degree  completion. Analysis of 6-year CUNY institution graduation rates reveals that for the fall 2002 cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen at the six CUNY community colleges, only 26% of these students graduated six years later.  

    To determine the impact of the ASAP program, CUNY used a constructed comparison group evaluation method to compare ASAP students’ outcomes against a group of similar students. The comparison group from fall 2006 who met the same criteria that ASAP students were required to meet in fall 2007 in order to join the program (See Table 1). An additional comparison group from fall 2007 who met the same criteria was created for socioeconomic analysis. CUNY and CEO have used this framework to measure the performance of ASAP students over the last two years, along with other administrative data and student surveys. Metis Associates, one of CEO’s independent evaluators, provided a review of this method and the criteria for comparison group matching (see Appendix I in the full report).  Their comments helped to refine this analysis of early program impacts. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butler, David; Alson, Julianna; Bloom, Dan; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron; Hsueh, JoAnn; Jacobs, Erin; Kim, Sue; McRoberts, Reanin; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three...

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three — large-scale programs that provided temporary, subsidized "transitional" jobs to facilitate entry into the workforce for long-term welfare recipients in one program and for ex-prisoners in the other — produced only short-term gains in employment, driven mainly by the transitional jobs themselves. The third one — a welfare-to-work program that provided unpaid work experience, job placement, and education services to recipients with health conditions — had longer-term gains, increasing employment and reducing the amount of cash assistance received over four years. Promising findings were also observed in other sites. An early-childhood development program that was combined with services to boost parents’ self-sufficiency increased employment and earnings for a subgroup of the study participants and increased the use of high-quality child care; the program for ex-prisoners mentioned above decreased recidivism; and an intervention for low-income parents with depression produced short-term increases in the use of in-person treatment. But other programs — case management services for low-income substance abusers and two employment strategies for welfare recipients — revealed no observed impacts.

    While these results are mixed, some directions for future research on the hard-to-employ emerged:

    • The findings from the evaluations of transitional jobs programs have influenced the design of two new federal subsidized employment initiatives, which are seeking to test approaches that may achieve longer-lasting effects.
    • The HtE evaluation illustrates some key challenges that early childhood education programs may face when adding self-sufficiency services for parents, and provides important lessons for implementation that can guide future two-generational programs for low-income parents and their young children.
    • Results from the HtE evaluation suggest future strategies for enhancing and adapting an intervention to help parents with depression that may benefit low-income populations.
    • Evidence from the HtE evaluation of employment strategies for welfare recipients along with other research indicates that combining work-focused strategies with treatment or services may be more promising than using either strategy alone, especially for people with disabilities and behavioral health problems.

    (author abstract)

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