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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: Edelman, Peter B.; Holzer, Harry J.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In this paper we will briefly review recent trends in employment outcomes for disadvantaged youth, focusing specifically on those who have become "disconnected" from school and the labor market, and why these trends have occurred. We then review a range of policy prescriptions that might improve those outcomes. These policies include: 1) Efforts to enhance education and employment outcomes, both among in-school youth who are at risk of dropping out and becoming disconnected as well as out-of-school youth who have already done so; 2) Policies to increase earnings and incent more labor force participation among youth, such as expanding the eligibility of childless adults (and especially non-custodial parents) for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and 3) Specific policies to reduce barriers to employment faced by ex-offenders and non-custodial parents (NCPs). We also consider policies that target the demand side of the labor market, in efforts to spur the willingness of employers to hire these young people and perhaps to improve the quality of jobs available to them.  (author...

    In this paper we will briefly review recent trends in employment outcomes for disadvantaged youth, focusing specifically on those who have become "disconnected" from school and the labor market, and why these trends have occurred. We then review a range of policy prescriptions that might improve those outcomes. These policies include: 1) Efforts to enhance education and employment outcomes, both among in-school youth who are at risk of dropping out and becoming disconnected as well as out-of-school youth who have already done so; 2) Policies to increase earnings and incent more labor force participation among youth, such as expanding the eligibility of childless adults (and especially non-custodial parents) for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC); and 3) Specific policies to reduce barriers to employment faced by ex-offenders and non-custodial parents (NCPs). We also consider policies that target the demand side of the labor market, in efforts to spur the willingness of employers to hire these young people and perhaps to improve the quality of jobs available to them.  (author abstract)

    Also published as IRP Discussion Paper 1412-13.

  • Individual Author: Barnow, Burt S.; Buck, Amy; O'Brien, Kirk; Pecora, Peter; Ellis, Mei Ling; Steiner, Eric
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2013

    Outcomes for youth from foster care have been found to be poor. The education and employment outcomes of youth and alumni of foster care served by transition programmes located in five major US cities were examined. Data were collected by case managers and reported to evaluators quarterly on 1058 youth from foster care for over 2 years. Job preparation, transportation, child care, education support services and life skills were the most common services provided to youth. During the 2-year study period, 35% of participants obtained employment, 23% obtained a General Education Development or diploma, and 17% enrolled in post-secondary education. It was found that the longer the youth were enrolled, the more education and employment outcomes they achieved. Further, job preparation and income support services were associated significantly with achieving any positive education or employment outcome. Results indicated that certain services provided over an extended period of time can improve outcomes for youth placed in foster care. For youth to achieve positive outcomes as they...

    Outcomes for youth from foster care have been found to be poor. The education and employment outcomes of youth and alumni of foster care served by transition programmes located in five major US cities were examined. Data were collected by case managers and reported to evaluators quarterly on 1058 youth from foster care for over 2 years. Job preparation, transportation, child care, education support services and life skills were the most common services provided to youth. During the 2-year study period, 35% of participants obtained employment, 23% obtained a General Education Development or diploma, and 17% enrolled in post-secondary education. It was found that the longer the youth were enrolled, the more education and employment outcomes they achieved. Further, job preparation and income support services were associated significantly with achieving any positive education or employment outcome. Results indicated that certain services provided over an extended period of time can improve outcomes for youth placed in foster care. For youth to achieve positive outcomes as they transition to adulthood, additional services are necessary. Other implications are discussed. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Aber, J. Lawrence; Grannis, Kerry Searle; Owen, Stephanie; Sawhill, Isabel V.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    This study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) to analyze competencies that children need to master by the end of elementary school, the extent to which they are doing so, what might be done to improve their performance, and how this might affect their ultimate ability to earn a living and their chances of being middle class by middle age. Both academic skills and socio-emotional skills contribute to core competency. We measure core competence at age eleven using five outcomes: math skills, reading skills, self-regulation, behavior problems, and physical health. (author introduction)

    This study uses data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) to analyze competencies that children need to master by the end of elementary school, the extent to which they are doing so, what might be done to improve their performance, and how this might affect their ultimate ability to earn a living and their chances of being middle class by middle age. Both academic skills and socio-emotional skills contribute to core competency. We measure core competence at age eleven using five outcomes: math skills, reading skills, self-regulation, behavior problems, and physical health. (author introduction)

  • Individual Author: Weigensberg, Elizabeth; Kreisman, Daniel; Park, Kyung; Black, Dan; Stagner, Matthew; Goerge, Robert; Cai, Hansong; Schlecht, Colleen
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    During the recent economic downturn, many questions were raised about how to improve the local Chicago economy and reduce high unemployment rates. However, to understand the extent of the problem and to begin addressing these challenging economic conditions, it is important to place Chicago’s experience within a broader context, assessing how Chicago’s population, workforce, and industries have changed over time and how they compare to other metropolitan cities. This report provides longitudinal and comparative analysis of the local economy and labor force in Chicago to inform workforce development policymakers about the changing characteristics and experiences of the workforce. This analysis uses U.S. Census data to describe the population, industries, and labor force of Chicago over time and to compare them to other major metropolitan areas. The report presents the analysis results in four sections covering population and demographic characteristics, industries in the local economy, employment and labor force participation, and several special topics, including younger workers...

    During the recent economic downturn, many questions were raised about how to improve the local Chicago economy and reduce high unemployment rates. However, to understand the extent of the problem and to begin addressing these challenging economic conditions, it is important to place Chicago’s experience within a broader context, assessing how Chicago’s population, workforce, and industries have changed over time and how they compare to other metropolitan cities. This report provides longitudinal and comparative analysis of the local economy and labor force in Chicago to inform workforce development policymakers about the changing characteristics and experiences of the workforce. This analysis uses U.S. Census data to describe the population, industries, and labor force of Chicago over time and to compare them to other major metropolitan areas. The report presents the analysis results in four sections covering population and demographic characteristics, industries in the local economy, employment and labor force participation, and several special topics, including younger workers, older workers, those currently enrolled in education while employed, and family income inequality. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Weigensberg, Elizabeth; Schlecht, Colleen; Laken, Faith; Goerge, Robert; Stagner, Matthew; Ballard, Peter; DeCoursey, Jan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The workforce development system in Chicago and nationwide is multifaceted and includes public and private training providers that work with individuals of all ages and abilities. Broadly, the programs within the system aim to train their participants while preparing them to (re)enter the workforce, graduate them from the programs, and place them into jobs. Some programs experience greater success at these goals and have more lasting effects than others. Identifying successful employment programs and understanding why they are successful at placing people into employment amid such variety is critical, especially during times of high unemployment when the tasks of finding and retaining employment are highly competitive. This study looks at several successful programs in Chicago; it attempts to understand the factors that may explain why they achieve success of different types, and how these factors may be quantified or measured to help improve the system.

    The study assesses the influence of a range of factors, from individual participant characteristics, program and...

    The workforce development system in Chicago and nationwide is multifaceted and includes public and private training providers that work with individuals of all ages and abilities. Broadly, the programs within the system aim to train their participants while preparing them to (re)enter the workforce, graduate them from the programs, and place them into jobs. Some programs experience greater success at these goals and have more lasting effects than others. Identifying successful employment programs and understanding why they are successful at placing people into employment amid such variety is critical, especially during times of high unemployment when the tasks of finding and retaining employment are highly competitive. This study looks at several successful programs in Chicago; it attempts to understand the factors that may explain why they achieve success of different types, and how these factors may be quantified or measured to help improve the system.

    The study assesses the influence of a range of factors, from individual participant characteristics, program and practice elements, and provider organizational aspects, to the broader set of external relationships, on achievement of successful outcomes for workforce development programs. These nested levels of factors—the individual participant within the program, the program within the organization, and the organization within its external context—are interconnected and, taken together, influence success. Intersecting with all of these factors is the role data and outcomes play in how programs achieve and understand their success. Specifically, the study aims to identify the influences within each of these levels that lead to programs’ success, how and if these factors are currently measured, and recommend improvements to the data collection methods and data system that currently exist within the workforce development system. Recommendations for a more robust data system, and the measures this system should track, are listed below, with more complete recommendations in the report. Following this, the influences on success at each level are outlined and explained in more detail in the full report, including how and if organizations measure these factors. (author abstract)

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