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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: Sawhill, Isabel V.; Haskins, Ron
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 2009

    Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged. They emphasize individual responsibility as an indispensable basis for successful policies and programs. The authors recommend a three-pronged approach to create more opportunity in America: " Increase education for children and youth at the preschool, K--12, and postsecondary levels " Encourage and support work among adults " Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births while increasing the share of children reared by their married parents With...

    Americans believe economic opportunity is as fundamental a right as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. More concerned about a level playing field for all, they worry less about the growing income and wealth disparity in our country. Creating an Opportunity Society examines economic opportunity in the United States and explores how to create more of it, particularly for those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill propose a concrete agenda for increasing opportunity that is cost effective, consistent with American values, and focuses on improving the lives of the young and the disadvantaged. They emphasize individual responsibility as an indispensable basis for successful policies and programs. The authors recommend a three-pronged approach to create more opportunity in America: " Increase education for children and youth at the preschool, K--12, and postsecondary levels " Encourage and support work among adults " Reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births while increasing the share of children reared by their married parents With concern for the federal deficit in mind, Haskins and Sawhill argue for reallocating existing resources, especially from the affluent elderly to disadvantaged children and their families. The authors are optimistic that a judicious use of the nation's resources can level the playing field and produce more opportunity for all. Creating an Opportunity Society offers the most complete summary available of the facts and the factors that contribute to economic opportunity. It looks at the poor, the middle class, and the rich, providing deep background data on how each group has fared in recent decades. Unfortunately, only the rich have made substantial progress, making this book a timely guide forward for anyone interested in what we can do as a society to improve the prospects for our less-advantaged families and fellow citizens. (publisher abstract)

  • Individual Author: Derr, Michelle K.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This practice brief profiles three work experience programs that engage nearly all work-ready TANF recipients in unpaid work activities, either alone or in conjunction with education and training. Unpaid work experience is designed to mirror regular employment in the paid labor market. TANF recipients are assigned to entry-level jobs at government offices, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, or for-profit businesses, creating an immediate attachment to the labor market. Rather than earning an hourly wage, recipients receive their TANF grant and food stamp benefits in exchange for the hours they work. In addition to helping recipients meet their TANF work requirement, these programs are designed to help recipients gain job skills and become acclimated to a regular work schedule. Erie County, New York, contracts with neighborhood organizations to provide work experience opportunities near the places where recipients live. Montana uses work experience placements as training sites to build recipients' job skills. In Hamilton County, Ohio, a consortium of agencies...

    This practice brief profiles three work experience programs that engage nearly all work-ready TANF recipients in unpaid work activities, either alone or in conjunction with education and training. Unpaid work experience is designed to mirror regular employment in the paid labor market. TANF recipients are assigned to entry-level jobs at government offices, nonprofit agencies, educational institutions, or for-profit businesses, creating an immediate attachment to the labor market. Rather than earning an hourly wage, recipients receive their TANF grant and food stamp benefits in exchange for the hours they work. In addition to helping recipients meet their TANF work requirement, these programs are designed to help recipients gain job skills and become acclimated to a regular work schedule. Erie County, New York, contracts with neighborhood organizations to provide work experience opportunities near the places where recipients live. Montana uses work experience placements as training sites to build recipients' job skills. In Hamilton County, Ohio, a consortium of agencies administers and provides work experience to TANF recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Clark, Robin E.; Dain, Bradley, J.; Xie, Haiyi; Becker, Deborah R.; Drake, Robert E.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 1998

    Background: Policies and programs that emphasize employment for persons with mental illness are often promoted with the goals of improving economic self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on public welfare programs. At present, there is little empirical evidence about the actual effect of vocational interventions on economic self-sufficiency or on use of public benefits by persons with mental illness.

    Study Aims: This study provides a preliminary look at how participating in supported employment, a form of vocational rehabilitation emphasizing ongoing support in competitive jobs, affects the amount that participants earn from work and the total amount of income they receive from all sources. Further, we examine the extent to which receiving public benefits affects the amount earned from private employment, taking into consideration other factors that might be associated with benefit status.

    Methods: Data are from a randomized trial of supported employment interventions. This analysis followed 137 of those study participants with severe mental illness for 18 months...

    Background: Policies and programs that emphasize employment for persons with mental illness are often promoted with the goals of improving economic self-sufficiency and reducing dependence on public welfare programs. At present, there is little empirical evidence about the actual effect of vocational interventions on economic self-sufficiency or on use of public benefits by persons with mental illness.

    Study Aims: This study provides a preliminary look at how participating in supported employment, a form of vocational rehabilitation emphasizing ongoing support in competitive jobs, affects the amount that participants earn from work and the total amount of income they receive from all sources. Further, we examine the extent to which receiving public benefits affects the amount earned from private employment, taking into consideration other factors that might be associated with benefit status.

    Methods: Data are from a randomized trial of supported employment interventions. This analysis followed 137 of those study participants with severe mental illness for 18 months after they enrolled in either of two supported employment programs. Income from various sources was estimated based on interviews with study participants upon study entry and at six-month intervals thereafter. Changes in income from work, government and other sources were analyzed using paired Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks tests and t-tests. Using ordinary least-squares regression, we analyzed the effect of benefit status on changes in earnings, taking into account diagnosis, work history, education, program type, site of program, psychiatric symptoms, global functioning and previous earnings.

    Results: Estimated total income increased by an average of $134 (US) per month after enrolling in supported employment. More than three-quarters of this increase was from government sources, such as Social Security and educational grants. The increase in government income was largely due to participants applying for and getting cash benefits for the first time. Social Security payments for those receiving benefits before enrollment did not change significantly. A small group of persons (n = 22) who did not receive Social Security benefits before or after enrollment earned significantly more from competitive employment after enrolling than did those who received benefits. This finding persisted after taking into account differences in work history, clinical and functional variables and education.

    Limitations: Because of the relatively small sample size and the lack of continuous measures of income these results should be considered preliminary.

    Conclusions: Supported employment, one of the more effective forms of vocational rehabilitation for persons with mental illness, did not reduce dependence on government support. Receiving government benefits was associated with lower earnings from work.

    Implications for Health Care Provision and Use: These findings suggest that most persons in treatment for severe mental illness need continued public financial support even after enrolling in vocational rehabilitation programs.

    Implications for Health Policy Formulation: Undoubtedly increased labor force participation can benefit persons with mental illness in a number of ways. However, policy makers should be careful about justifying increased access to vocational programs on the basis of reduced spending for income support. Further, targeting such programs only to persons receiving income support may overlook the clients who can benefit most: those who are not currently receiving benefits.

    Implications for Further Research: Policy makers need a better understanding of how vocational interventions and income support programs affect the income and well-being of persons with mental illness. Studies similar to this one should be repeated with larger, more diverse samples that will allow use of instrumental variables statistical techniques. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Robins, Cynthia; Agaton, Kathleen; Rollins, Katie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2013

    In spring 2011, CEO contracted its external evaluators, Westat and Metis, to undertake a qualitative study aimed at understanding what makes a subsidized job experience successful, wherein “success” may include educational, youth development and other non-employment outcomes. The study looks across eight of CEO’s programs that offer subsidized jobs to participating young adults:

    • CUNY Preparatory Transitional High School
    • CUNY Works – At Home, In College
    • CUNY Works – Language and Literacy Programs
    • NYC Justice Corps
    • MillionTrees Training Program
    • Scholars at Work (SAW)
    • Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP)
    • Young Adult Literacy (YAL) program

    In doing so the study also attempts to understand what may contribute to a less than positive subsidized job experience, and ways in which subsidized jobs offered through CEO could be improved. In order to address these questions, the evaluators reviewed qualitative data previously collected by Westat and/or Metis on the eight programs. They also conducted a...

    In spring 2011, CEO contracted its external evaluators, Westat and Metis, to undertake a qualitative study aimed at understanding what makes a subsidized job experience successful, wherein “success” may include educational, youth development and other non-employment outcomes. The study looks across eight of CEO’s programs that offer subsidized jobs to participating young adults:

    • CUNY Preparatory Transitional High School
    • CUNY Works – At Home, In College
    • CUNY Works – Language and Literacy Programs
    • NYC Justice Corps
    • MillionTrees Training Program
    • Scholars at Work (SAW)
    • Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP)
    • Young Adult Literacy (YAL) program

    In doing so the study also attempts to understand what may contribute to a less than positive subsidized job experience, and ways in which subsidized jobs offered through CEO could be improved. In order to address these questions, the evaluators reviewed qualitative data previously collected by Westat and/or Metis on the eight programs. They also conducted a series of interviews in summer/fall 2011. A total of 36 respondents were interviewed, including 24 program participants (three from each program), eight program staff (one from each program), and four employers. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Altstadt, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    To close the gap between businesses’ need for qualified employees and the skills of unemployed job-seekers, substantial investments are needed in accessible, market-driven education and skills development programs. This brief outlines the need for employers, nonprofit organizations and policy makers to align resources and systems to create or strengthen programs--such as apprenticeships--to train low-skill adults for jobs that can help their families achieve financial stability. (Author Abstract)

    To close the gap between businesses’ need for qualified employees and the skills of unemployed job-seekers, substantial investments are needed in accessible, market-driven education and skills development programs. This brief outlines the need for employers, nonprofit organizations and policy makers to align resources and systems to create or strengthen programs--such as apprenticeships--to train low-skill adults for jobs that can help their families achieve financial stability. (Author Abstract)

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