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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: Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    Launched in 2010, the Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration evaluation from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration evaluation from the Department of Labor are studying 13 subsidized employment programs in 10 locations across the United States. The programs encompass three broad categories: Modified Transitional Jobs Models, Wage Subsidy Models, and Hybrid Models.

    The goal of these complementary large-scale projects is to evaluate the effectiveness of the latest generation of subsidized employment models that aim to improve participants’ long-term success in the labor market. This report introduces the projects and presents some preliminary findings about implementation of the demonstrations. (author abstract)

    Launched in 2010, the Subsidized and Transitional Employment Demonstration evaluation from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Enhanced Transitional Jobs Demonstration evaluation from the Department of Labor are studying 13 subsidized employment programs in 10 locations across the United States. The programs encompass three broad categories: Modified Transitional Jobs Models, Wage Subsidy Models, and Hybrid Models.

    The goal of these complementary large-scale projects is to evaluate the effectiveness of the latest generation of subsidized employment models that aim to improve participants’ long-term success in the labor market. This report introduces the projects and presents some preliminary findings about implementation of the demonstrations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle; Scrivener, Susan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project was launched in 1999 to identify and determine the effectiveness of different program strategies designed to promote employment stability and earnings growth among current or former welfare recipients and other low-income individuals. The study was conceived and funded by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; supplemental support was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the evaluation was conducted by MDRC.

    Using random assignment research designs, ERA tested 16 different program models in eight states and estimated effects over a three-to four-year follow-up period. The focus of this synthesis is primarily on the 12 programs that targeted more employable groups, as opposed to “harder-to employ” groups, such as individuals with known disabilities. Three...

    Many recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other low-income individuals find or keep jobs for a while, but far fewer remain steadily employed and advance in the labor market. The Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project was launched in 1999 to identify and determine the effectiveness of different program strategies designed to promote employment stability and earnings growth among current or former welfare recipients and other low-income individuals. The study was conceived and funded by the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; supplemental support was provided by the U.S. Department of Labor, and the evaluation was conducted by MDRC.

    Using random assignment research designs, ERA tested 16 different program models in eight states and estimated effects over a three-to four-year follow-up period. The focus of this synthesis is primarily on the 12 programs that targeted more employable groups, as opposed to “harder-to employ” groups, such as individuals with known disabilities. Three of these 12 programs produced consistent increases in individuals’ employment retention and advancement, and the others did not. The project points to some strategies that succeeded in improving retention and earnings among low-income single parents and provides some lessons. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hendra, Richard; Dillman, Keri-Nicole; Hamilton, Gayle; Lundquist, Erika; Martinson, Karin; Wavelet, Melissa; Hill, Aaron; Williams, Sonya
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three...

    This report summarizes the final impact results for the national Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project. This project tested, using a random assignment design, the effectiveness of numerous programs intended to promote steady work and career advancement. All the programs targeted current and former welfare recipients and other low-wage workers, most of whom were single mothers. Given that earlier retention and advancement initiatives studied for these groups were largely not effective, ERA sought to examine a variety of programs that states and localities had developed for different populations, to determine whether effective strategies could be identified. In short, nine of the twelve programs examined in this report do not appear to be effective, but three programs increased employment levels, employment stability, and/or earnings, relative to control group levels, after three to four years of follow-up.

    Key Findings:

     - Out of the twelve programs included in the report, three ERA programs produced positive economic impacts; nine did not. All three programs increased employment retention and advancement. Increases in employment retention and earnings were largest and most consistent over time in the Texas ERA program in Corpus Christi (one of three sites that operated this program); the Chicago ERA program; and the Riverside County, California, Post-Assistance Self-Sufficiency (PASS) ERA program. These programs increased annual earnings by between 7 percent and 15 percent relative to control group levels. Each of them served a different target group, which suggests that employment retention and advancement programs can work for a range of populations. However, three-fourths of the ERA programs included in this report did not produce gains in targeted outcomes beyond what control group members were able to attain on their own with the existing services and supports available in the ERA sites.

     - Increases in participation beyond control group levels were not consistent or large, which may have made it difficult for the programs to achieve impacts on employment retention and advancement. Engaging individuals in employment and retention services at levels above what they would have done in the absence of the programs was a consistent challenge. In addition, staff had to spend a lot of time and resources on placing unemployed individuals back into jobs, which made it difficult for them to focus on helping those who were already working to keep their jobs or move up.

    Before the ERA project began, there was not much evidence about the types of programs that could improve employment retention and advancement outcomes for current or former welfare recipients. The ERA evaluation provides valuable insights about the nature of retention and advancement problems and it underscores a number of key implementation challenges that a program would have to address. In addition, it reveals shortcomings in a range of common approaches now in use, while identifying three distinct approaches that seem promising and worthy of further exploration. (author abstract)

     

  • Individual Author: Hamilton, Gayle; Karin, Martinson; Wavelet, Melissa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2010

    This 12-page practitioner brief focuses on one aspect of the ERA programs — that is, their strategies to reemploy the many program participants who quickly lost jobs. Limited rigorous evidence is available on reemployment strategies. Moreover, the ERA evaluation was not designed to test the effectiveness of the specific strategies discussed in this document. However, the experiences — successful or not — across the ERA programs can provide important lessons for developing or operating employment programs for current and former welfare recipients. The reemployment services that were offered to newly unemployed individuals are similar to job placement services in programs that target unemployed populations generally, but there are differences, particularly in using recent job loss as a learning tool in finding the next job.

    While preventing job loss can be an appropriate goal for retention and advancement programs, the ERA study illustrates how challenging it is to keep individuals in a particular job. Programs might consider redefining “retention” as sustained employment across jobs rather than as sustained employment in any one job. The focus in this brief is on how to address job loss once it has happened: structuring job search and job placement services for those who have recently lost their jobs, with the goal of reducing the length of unemployment, improving the quality of the new job over the previous one, and achieving greater employment stability over time. The lessons address three overarching questions:

    How can programs learn about participants’ job losses quickly?

    Which strategies might contribute to faster reemployment?

    How can managers organize staff and resources to address job loss?  (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kato, Linda; Godbold, Louise; Montgomery, Julie; Rosas, Nancy; Sherwood, Kay
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    In 2000, The California Endowment and The Rockefeller Foundation launched the California Works for Better Health (CWBH) initiative to test the theory that improving the consistency and quality of employment among people with multiple disadvantages in the labor market could also improve their health. CWBH brought together grantee agencies in four California regions — Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego — to form collaboratives that were charged with raising the level and quality of employment in targeted communities. Community-based organizations (CBOs) were chosen in each region to carry out the activities that were expected to lead to more and better jobs for workers with multiple disadvantages in the targeted California communities.

    The initial vision of the CWBH funders was an effort of eight to ten years and a scale and scope that included a significant commitment to learning through evaluation. The CWBH concept in the four California regions was approved by the two foundation sponsors at a budget eventually totaling about $20 million including $1.4...

    In 2000, The California Endowment and The Rockefeller Foundation launched the California Works for Better Health (CWBH) initiative to test the theory that improving the consistency and quality of employment among people with multiple disadvantages in the labor market could also improve their health. CWBH brought together grantee agencies in four California regions — Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego — to form collaboratives that were charged with raising the level and quality of employment in targeted communities. Community-based organizations (CBOs) were chosen in each region to carry out the activities that were expected to lead to more and better jobs for workers with multiple disadvantages in the targeted California communities.

    The initial vision of the CWBH funders was an effort of eight to ten years and a scale and scope that included a significant commitment to learning through evaluation. The CWBH concept in the four California regions was approved by the two foundation sponsors at a budget eventually totaling about $20 million including $1.4 million for evaluation and an additional $2.5 million for technical assistance and management services. Two phases were anticipated: a three-year first phase of planning and development and a 5- to 7-year implementation phase with outcome measurement.

    CWBH unfolded as an extraordinarily complex effort to change community conditions that featured many levels of planning and decisionmaking, shifting goals over time, and an evaluation attempting both micro-level documentation and macro-level measurement while expectations and activities were under development and undergoing revision. The final design and implementation of the initiative and, consequently, the design and implementation of the initiative’s evaluation research, were significantly different from the initial vision because: 1) CBOs serving multiple, non-contiguous neighborhoods or city-wide populations were selected to participate in the site collaboratives, which made it unrealistic to expect measurable neighborhood effects of CWBH; and 2) the timeframe for Phase II of the CWBH initiative was scaled down from seven to five years, and then to three years, shifting sites’ attention to job placements as the central objective (away from health improvements).

    The CWBH initiative as implemented between 2000 and 2006 was not a true test of its starting hypotheses, given the major changes in scope and focus over its first four years and major difficulties experienced by the sites and the initiative partners in carrying out essential elements of the initial vision. As a result, most of the changes that the initiative was aiming to effect were visible only in limited areas and, overall, compared to the initial vision, outcomes were disappointing. (author abstract)

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