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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: Wells, Christopher R. E.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2009

    Workforce development programs seek to positively impact the employment and earnings of individuals who may face significant barriers to labor market success. In this paper, I measure the outcomes of several workforce development programs operating in Franklin County, Ohio, against three poverty thresholds: the 2007 United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) individual poverty guidelines, the 2007 HHS family of four poverty guidelines, and .6 of the median household income for Franklin County in 2007. The United Way of Central Ohio provided data on approximately 4685 program participants. The dataset included demographic characteristics, information on barriers to employment, hourly earnings, hours worked per week, and occupational classification. While the data do not include pre-program earnings or measures of long-term stability of employment, I attempt some inference with respect to the ability of these programs to place participants in jobs with estimated yearly earnings above the three poverty thresholds. Logistic and least squares regression models are...

    Workforce development programs seek to positively impact the employment and earnings of individuals who may face significant barriers to labor market success. In this paper, I measure the outcomes of several workforce development programs operating in Franklin County, Ohio, against three poverty thresholds: the 2007 United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) individual poverty guidelines, the 2007 HHS family of four poverty guidelines, and .6 of the median household income for Franklin County in 2007. The United Way of Central Ohio provided data on approximately 4685 program participants. The dataset included demographic characteristics, information on barriers to employment, hourly earnings, hours worked per week, and occupational classification. While the data do not include pre-program earnings or measures of long-term stability of employment, I attempt some inference with respect to the ability of these programs to place participants in jobs with estimated yearly earnings above the three poverty thresholds. Logistic and least squares regression models are created to explore relationships. Demographic characteristics and barriers to employment are found to have significant relationships to earnings. Presence of a criminal record and presence of a disability are found to be particularly strong barriers to earnings above poverty thresholds. This suggests that programmatic efforts may need to be more intensive and may require meaningful partnerships with employers in order to improve the earnings for these participants. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Tucker, Jo B.
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2005

    This case study investigated eight welfare recipients and their perceptions of the effectiveness of the job training programs in which they participated in an effort to understand the domains in which welfare-reliant individuals exhibit a commitment to work. Specific issues addressed by this qualitative study included the individuals’ perceptions of (1) the program effects on escaping poverty and becoming self-sufficient; (2) the impact of the program focus on the participants’ achievement and empowerment; (3) employment and the prospects of getting off welfare, both before and after program completion; and (4) recommendations for improvement in designing such programs. It is clear that all participants in the study found resolution to the tensions in their lives through the programs. Life skills training was critical in enhancing the self-esteem of the participants, providing them the tools necessary to overcome their fear of independence and allowing them to experience their own definition of success. Each participant in the study wished for more time in the program. Most...

    This case study investigated eight welfare recipients and their perceptions of the effectiveness of the job training programs in which they participated in an effort to understand the domains in which welfare-reliant individuals exhibit a commitment to work. Specific issues addressed by this qualitative study included the individuals’ perceptions of (1) the program effects on escaping poverty and becoming self-sufficient; (2) the impact of the program focus on the participants’ achievement and empowerment; (3) employment and the prospects of getting off welfare, both before and after program completion; and (4) recommendations for improvement in designing such programs. It is clear that all participants in the study found resolution to the tensions in their lives through the programs. Life skills training was critical in enhancing the self-esteem of the participants, providing them the tools necessary to overcome their fear of independence and allowing them to experience their own definition of success. Each participant in the study wished for more time in the program. Most participants felt the
    program was a gift and verbalized the value of supportive services on-site. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holland, Deborah Evelyn
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2007

    This study examined the issues of barriers and employment retention in a rural county welfare-to-work setting, the Missoula, Montana WoRC Program. Qualitative research (study one) was conducted, to interview clients regarding reasons why they had lost jobs in the past, and, to elicit their suggestions regarding new services the WoRC Program could offer to help with employment retention at future jobs. Study one results indicated that the primary barriers resulting in job loss were: family issues; medical problems; mental health disorders; work site difficulties; and other (i.e. boredom, attitude problems). Work adjustment proved to be an underlying barrier to employment retention. Study one results demonstrated that the clients wanted three primary services to help resolve barriers and improve job retention: life skills classes teaching work adjustment; job coaching; and post-TANF supportive services (i.e. clothing and gas vouchers). Quantitative research (study two) was conducted to analyze 90 variables via logistic regression and determine whether or not the WoRC Program...

    This study examined the issues of barriers and employment retention in a rural county welfare-to-work setting, the Missoula, Montana WoRC Program. Qualitative research (study one) was conducted, to interview clients regarding reasons why they had lost jobs in the past, and, to elicit their suggestions regarding new services the WoRC Program could offer to help with employment retention at future jobs. Study one results indicated that the primary barriers resulting in job loss were: family issues; medical problems; mental health disorders; work site difficulties; and other (i.e. boredom, attitude problems). Work adjustment proved to be an underlying barrier to employment retention. Study one results demonstrated that the clients wanted three primary services to help resolve barriers and improve job retention: life skills classes teaching work adjustment; job coaching; and post-TANF supportive services (i.e. clothing and gas vouchers). Quantitative research (study two) was conducted to analyze 90 variables via logistic regression and determine whether or not the WoRC Program assisted clients with gaining employment, and if so, what the characteristics of those clients were. The results of the logistic regression indicated that the WoRC Program helped clients gain employment exactly 50% of the time. Statistically significant variables for clients that gained employment were: study one participant; female; on TANF 4+ months; final status (case closed at time of study); merit (not sanctioned); no short term training months; no learning disability; no domestic violence; and no chemical dependency. Linear regression was utilized to determine whether or not the employment WoRC clients gained paid better than the minimum wage. The results of the linear regression demonstrated that the mean wage for the employed study two clients was $7.16/hr. The Federal minimum wage at the time of the study was $5.15/hr. To place this study in context, the literature review traced the development of the welfare system from ancient times to the present day, with special emphasis on the topics of cycling, barriers and retention, as well as intangible factors that may have contributed to the study results. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Melz, Heidi Marie
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2011

    This study examines the transition to marriage among low-income urban mothers and fathers who are unmarried and have a newborn baby together. The study contributes to an emerging body of research that explores the concept of obstacles to marriage by testing whether obstacles to marriage operate in the way that the descriptive literature has proposed: by standing in the way of loving and committed couples who might otherwise make a smooth transition to marriage. Using survival analysis techniques and data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and introducing a new measure, the Headed to Marriage Index, the study tests the influence that three categories of determinants of marriage — relationship quality, investment in the relationship, and guiding values and beliefs — have on how long couples with a newborn remain unmarried to each other. It also determines whether and how the association between these determinants of marriage and time to marriage is affected by the presence of three obstacles to marriage: low education, poverty, and multiple partner fertility....

    This study examines the transition to marriage among low-income urban mothers and fathers who are unmarried and have a newborn baby together. The study contributes to an emerging body of research that explores the concept of obstacles to marriage by testing whether obstacles to marriage operate in the way that the descriptive literature has proposed: by standing in the way of loving and committed couples who might otherwise make a smooth transition to marriage. Using survival analysis techniques and data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and introducing a new measure, the Headed to Marriage Index, the study tests the influence that three categories of determinants of marriage — relationship quality, investment in the relationship, and guiding values and beliefs — have on how long couples with a newborn remain unmarried to each other. It also determines whether and how the association between these determinants of marriage and time to marriage is affected by the presence of three obstacles to marriage: low education, poverty, and multiple partner fertility. Results show that the Headed to Marriage Index can be used to estimate hazard of marriage among these couples, and that as a predictor of marriage behavior, this simple index performs nearly as well as the individual components that it comprises. Results also show that low education, being in poverty, and having multiple partner fertility are formidable obstacles that might help to explain why some new parents never marry each other, even though they report wanting to. Finally, interaction terms using the Headed to Marriage Index and each of the three obstacles to marriage test the hypothesis that the extent to which these obstacles to marriage matter might differ depending a couple’s score on the Headed to Marriage Index. The results provided evidence that poverty is an obstacle to marriage for couples at all levels of the Headed to Marriage Index, but that its effect grows stronger as HMI score increases. Poverty is a significant barrier to marriage for those who are otherwise most prepared and oriented toward marriage. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Ware, Annie
    Reference Type: Thesis
    Year: 2012

    Little is known about how poor African American women break the cycle of poverty. The purpose of this study was to explore how these women born in poverty were able to overcome barriers, seek opportunities, and pursue a postsecondary college education. Erikson's theory of human development and Bandura's of self-efficacy provided the conceptual frameworks to understand these developmental challenges and processes. Using a snowball method of recruitment, a sample of 10 bachelor's and 10 master's students ( N =20) from a Midwest state university first completed a Screening Survey Instrument to establish their eligibility and then participated in interviews to share their stories. This multiple case study with a phenomenological framework produced biographical narratives for each participant. Grounded theory was the approach to analyze the data with results revealing 2 conceptually different family structures ( supportive, structured [SS ] vs. an unsupportive, unstructured [UU] family system) with 3 subthemes related to the women's levels of awareness (viz., physiological , economic...

    Little is known about how poor African American women break the cycle of poverty. The purpose of this study was to explore how these women born in poverty were able to overcome barriers, seek opportunities, and pursue a postsecondary college education. Erikson's theory of human development and Bandura's of self-efficacy provided the conceptual frameworks to understand these developmental challenges and processes. Using a snowball method of recruitment, a sample of 10 bachelor's and 10 master's students ( N =20) from a Midwest state university first completed a Screening Survey Instrument to establish their eligibility and then participated in interviews to share their stories. This multiple case study with a phenomenological framework produced biographical narratives for each participant. Grounded theory was the approach to analyze the data with results revealing 2 conceptually different family structures ( supportive, structured [SS ] vs. an unsupportive, unstructured [UU] family system) with 3 subthemes related to the women's levels of awareness (viz., physiological , economic , and psychological ) of their family environments at different stages of their development. While the results confirmed both family types achieved their educational goals, the SS children received internal family support, but the UU children received their support externally through community mentors/role models, motivating them to achieve a newly envisioned life. The social change implications include the importance of both academic and social welfare institutions to acknowledge the special needs of UU children and design programs to promote their self-esteem, resiliency and perseverance to achieve their life goals and move out of poverty. (author abstract)

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