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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: Carnevale, Anthony P.; Jayasundera, Tamara; Hanson, Andrew R.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Getting a Bachelor's degree is the best way for most workers to make middle-class wages. In this report, however, we show there are 29 million jobs (21% of all jobs) for workers without Bachelor's degrees. The report also details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate's degrees. (author abstract)

    Getting a Bachelor's degree is the best way for most workers to make middle-class wages. In this report, however, we show there are 29 million jobs (21% of all jobs) for workers without Bachelor's degrees. The report also details five major sub-baccalaureate, career and technical education (CTE) pathways: employer-based training, industry-based certifications, apprenticeships, postsecondary certificates, and associate's degrees. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Dave, Dhaval M.; Reichman, Nancy E.; Corman, Hope; Das, Dhiman
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Exploiting variation in welfare reform across states and over time and using relevant comparison groups, this study estimates the effects of welfare reform on an important source of human capital acquisition among women at risk for relying on welfare: vocational education and training. The results indicate that welfare reform reduced enrollment in full-time vocational education and had no significant effects on part-time vocational education or participation in other types of work-related courses, though there is considerable heterogeneity across states with respect to the strictness of educational policy and the strength of work incentives under welfare reform. In addition, we find heterogeneous effects by prior educational attainment. We find no evidence that the previously-observed negative effects of welfare reform on formal education (including college enrollment), which we replicated in this study, have been offset by increases in vocational education and training. (author abstract)

    Exploiting variation in welfare reform across states and over time and using relevant comparison groups, this study estimates the effects of welfare reform on an important source of human capital acquisition among women at risk for relying on welfare: vocational education and training. The results indicate that welfare reform reduced enrollment in full-time vocational education and had no significant effects on part-time vocational education or participation in other types of work-related courses, though there is considerable heterogeneity across states with respect to the strictness of educational policy and the strength of work incentives under welfare reform. In addition, we find heterogeneous effects by prior educational attainment. We find no evidence that the previously-observed negative effects of welfare reform on formal education (including college enrollment), which we replicated in this study, have been offset by increases in vocational education and training. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Falk, Gene; Skinner, Rebecca R.
    Year: 2004

    The two pending welfare reform reauthorization bills passed by the House and reported from the Senate Finance Committee would revise the participation rules for counting vocational education toward the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work participation standard, though in very different ways. Current law emphasizes work over education and permits full-time “vocational educational training” to be counted toward meeting federal TANF standards for only 12 months in a recipient’s lifetime. The House-passed bill would scale back full-time participation in this activity to four months. The Senate Finance Committee bill retains the current law 12-month limit, but provides options to states that could result in additional months of vocational education being counted. Both bills would expand states’ ability to count part-time vocational education for recipients who also work.

    Vocational education programs generally provide training for a specific occupation; programs of study vary greatly in their content and duration. Vocational associates degree programs convey a...

    The two pending welfare reform reauthorization bills passed by the House and reported from the Senate Finance Committee would revise the participation rules for counting vocational education toward the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) work participation standard, though in very different ways. Current law emphasizes work over education and permits full-time “vocational educational training” to be counted toward meeting federal TANF standards for only 12 months in a recipient’s lifetime. The House-passed bill would scale back full-time participation in this activity to four months. The Senate Finance Committee bill retains the current law 12-month limit, but provides options to states that could result in additional months of vocational education being counted. Both bills would expand states’ ability to count part-time vocational education for recipients who also work.

    Vocational education programs generally provide training for a specific occupation; programs of study vary greatly in their content and duration. Vocational associates degree programs convey a college degree and generally require about 60 credits or two years of full-time study, but shorter certificate programs are available. Vocational education is very common among postsecondary education students. In school year 1999-2000, 55% of students attending two-year or proprietary schools were in vocational education.

    The debate over revising TANF rules for vocational education continues a long running debate over the role of education in welfare-to-work programs. In the general population, higher levels of educational attainment translate into higher earnings. Welfare recipients tend to have lower levels of educational attainment than the general population. Yet the research on welfare-to-work programs finds that education-focused programs do not outperform programs that emphasize rapid attachment to jobs in raising employment and earnings of cash assistance recipients. This research, however, is not specific to programs that focus specifically on vocational education. Many welfare recipients do not have the prerequisites for postsecondary vocational education (i.e., they lack a high school degree). Moreover, many recipients who have such prerequisites participate in vocational education on their own (without a program mandate), which dilutes the measured impact of education-focused programs.

    The current debate takes place in a different context than welfare debates prior to TANF. TANF’s fixed funding provides states a strong incentive to reduce caseloads — even if Congress permitted more vocational education to count toward participation standards, states would still have the incentive to place recipients in activities that would speed their entry into jobs and exit from the welfare rolls. Further, the debate can be broadened to include part-time education and training for working recipients and other low-income parents. The majority of postsecondary students can be classified as “nontraditional” — with characteristics like TANF recipients (older, having dependents and often working). A key question is whether “targeted” programs of vocational or postsecondary education or programs that emphasize part-time education combined with work will be effective in achieving some of the policy goals — particularly raising incomes — which have eluded most evaluated welfare-to-work programs. This report will be updated as events warrant. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Schochet, Peter Z.; Burghardt, John; McConnell, Sheena
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2008

    This paper presents findings from an experimental evaluation of Job Corps, the nation's largest training program for disadvantaged youths. The study uses survey data collected over four years and tax data over nine years on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. The Job Corps model has promise; program participation increases educational attainment, reduces criminal activity, and increases earnings for several postprogram years. Based on tax data, however, the earnings gains were not sustained except for the oldest participants. Nonetheless, Job Corps is the only federal training program that has been shown to increase earnings for this population. (JEL I28, I38, J13, J24) (Author abstract)

    This paper presents findings from an experimental evaluation of Job Corps, the nation's largest training program for disadvantaged youths. The study uses survey data collected over four years and tax data over nine years on a nationwide sample of 15,400 treatments and controls. The Job Corps model has promise; program participation increases educational attainment, reduces criminal activity, and increases earnings for several postprogram years. Based on tax data, however, the earnings gains were not sustained except for the oldest participants. Nonetheless, Job Corps is the only federal training program that has been shown to increase earnings for this population. (JEL I28, I38, J13, J24) (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Person, Ann; Pavetti, LaDonna; Max, Jefferey
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This practice brief profiles three programs, two statewide and one local, that provide work opportunities to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are participating in vocational education programs. We selected programs that combine vocational education and paid work because this strategy reinforces the emphasis of the TANF program on encouraging recipients to engage in work as quickly as possible. This also allows them to meet their core 20-hour federal work requirement through paid, subsidized employment and to use their hours spent in school to meet any required hours over 20 (i.e., non-core hours), as long as they are directly related to a specific job or occupation. (author abstract)

    This practice brief profiles three programs, two statewide and one local, that provide work opportunities to Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients who are participating in vocational education programs. We selected programs that combine vocational education and paid work because this strategy reinforces the emphasis of the TANF program on encouraging recipients to engage in work as quickly as possible. This also allows them to meet their core 20-hour federal work requirement through paid, subsidized employment and to use their hours spent in school to meet any required hours over 20 (i.e., non-core hours), as long as they are directly related to a specific job or occupation. (author abstract)

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