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SSRC Library

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.

Writing a paper? Working on a literature review? Citing research in a funding proposal? Use the SSRC Citation Assistance Tool to compile citations.

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The SSRC Library includes resources which may be available only via journal subscription. The SSRC may be able to provide users without subscription access to a particular journal with a single use copy of the full text.  Please email the SSRC with your request.

The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Martinson, Karin; Strawn, Julie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    This report summarized how education and training can contribute to successfully moving people from welfare to work. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant gives states unprecedented flexibility to design programs to help low-income parents move into employment. While states are given broad authority to craft their own approaches for meeting the goals of the legislation, the law discourages states from allowing welfare recipients to participate in education and training programs. Specifically, the law limits the extent to which education activities count toward federal work participation requirements, effectively restricting how long individuals can participate in training and capping how many individuals can receive these services. These TANF restrictions on education and training are at odds with recent research findings on the experiences of welfare recipients in the labor market and on the effectiveness of different welfare-to-work strategies. This paper shows that skills matter generally in the labor market, even for entry-level jobs, and that the low...

    This report summarized how education and training can contribute to successfully moving people from welfare to work. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant gives states unprecedented flexibility to design programs to help low-income parents move into employment. While states are given broad authority to craft their own approaches for meeting the goals of the legislation, the law discourages states from allowing welfare recipients to participate in education and training programs. Specifically, the law limits the extent to which education activities count toward federal work participation requirements, effectively restricting how long individuals can participate in training and capping how many individuals can receive these services. These TANF restrictions on education and training are at odds with recent research findings on the experiences of welfare recipients in the labor market and on the effectiveness of different welfare-to-work strategies. This paper shows that skills matter generally in the labor market, even for entry-level jobs, and that the low skills of welfare recipients are an obstacle to finding lasting employment and earning enough to support a family. The welfare-to-work programs that have been most successful in helping parents work more and earn more over the long run are those that have focused on employment but made substantial use of education and training, together with job search and other employment services. Further, studies find that helping low-income parents increase their skills pays off in the labor market, particularly through participation in vocational training and postsecondary education and training. Even those with lower skills can benefit from postsecondary education and training, if basic education programs are made intensive, close attention is paid to quality, and basic education is linked to further training and employment. While it can take a substantial amount of time to complete both basic education and job training, it is a worthwhile investment because the payoff is significant and much larger than basic education services alone provide. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Jones-DeWeever, Avis A.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2006

    Established within a political context greatly influenced by stereotypical assumptions of impoverished women of color, welfare reform codified a work-first philosophy meant to attack perceived “dependency” and spur “self-sufficiency.” This article describes the shortcomings of the work-first approach and highlights the importance of higher education for helping women, and especially women of color, achieve economic well-being. It then reports key findings from a study that examines the impact of higher education on the lives of welfare participants in California. Utilizing a mix of surveys, focus groups, and personal interviews, this study finds that despite the challenges associated with balancing parenthood, college-level coursework, and the bureaucratic demands of welfare reform, the stereotypical notions of the “welfare queen” do not apply. Instead, study participants exhibited a high level of ambition, persistence, determination, and hard work in pursuit of their educational ambitions; and in the process, improved their lives and the lives of their children. (Author abstract...

    Established within a political context greatly influenced by stereotypical assumptions of impoverished women of color, welfare reform codified a work-first philosophy meant to attack perceived “dependency” and spur “self-sufficiency.” This article describes the shortcomings of the work-first approach and highlights the importance of higher education for helping women, and especially women of color, achieve economic well-being. It then reports key findings from a study that examines the impact of higher education on the lives of welfare participants in California. Utilizing a mix of surveys, focus groups, and personal interviews, this study finds that despite the challenges associated with balancing parenthood, college-level coursework, and the bureaucratic demands of welfare reform, the stereotypical notions of the “welfare queen” do not apply. Instead, study participants exhibited a high level of ambition, persistence, determination, and hard work in pursuit of their educational ambitions; and in the process, improved their lives and the lives of their children. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Bone, Josh
    Reference Type: Stakeholder Resource
    Year: 2010

    Parents as Scholars program provides a range of services to Maine TANF participants who are pursuing two-year or four-year postsecondary degrees. Students who participate in PaS receive a range of support services, including transportation, child care, required books and supplies that are not covered by financial aid grants. (author abstract)

    Parents as Scholars program provides a range of services to Maine TANF participants who are pursuing two-year or four-year postsecondary degrees. Students who participate in PaS receive a range of support services, including transportation, child care, required books and supplies that are not covered by financial aid grants. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Coffield, C. Ditmar
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2002

    This article interrogates welfare reform policies that restrict welfare reliant mothers' access to education and training. It focuses on how these policies have been implemented through the Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training Program (IMPACT), Indiana's work first response to women's growing experience of poverty. Using methods of inquiry inspired by Dorothy E. Smith's articulation of institutional ethnography, a case study is developed to investigate the critical disjuncture that arises when welfare reliant mothers attempt to navigate these policies in the context of Indiana's extended political economy. It is argued that through these restrictive policies, welfare reliant mothers are forced into Indiana's unrelenting low-wage labor market, increasing the pervasiveness of poverty and further perpetuating the reproduction of inequality. (author abstract)

    This article interrogates welfare reform policies that restrict welfare reliant mothers' access to education and training. It focuses on how these policies have been implemented through the Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training Program (IMPACT), Indiana's work first response to women's growing experience of poverty. Using methods of inquiry inspired by Dorothy E. Smith's articulation of institutional ethnography, a case study is developed to investigate the critical disjuncture that arises when welfare reliant mothers attempt to navigate these policies in the context of Indiana's extended political economy. It is argued that through these restrictive policies, welfare reliant mothers are forced into Indiana's unrelenting low-wage labor market, increasing the pervasiveness of poverty and further perpetuating the reproduction of inequality. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Lower-Basch, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2007

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is one of the major sources; of funding for services designed to help low-income parents succeed in the workplace. The TANF law limits the degree to which states can count TANF families engaged in education and training activities toward federal work participation rate requirements—an unfortunate limitation, given the strong link between educational attainment and earnings. The authors recommend that Congress remove these arbitrary limits and allow vocational educational training to count for at least 24 months, along with allowing adult education and English language services to count for at least six months, so that students can transition into training. (author abstract)

    The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant is one of the major sources; of funding for services designed to help low-income parents succeed in the workplace. The TANF law limits the degree to which states can count TANF families engaged in education and training activities toward federal work participation rate requirements—an unfortunate limitation, given the strong link between educational attainment and earnings. The authors recommend that Congress remove these arbitrary limits and allow vocational educational training to count for at least 24 months, along with allowing adult education and English language services to count for at least six months, so that students can transition into training. (author abstract)