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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: Navarro, David; Azurdia, Gilda; Hamilton, Gayle
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Although much is known about how to help welfare applicants and recipients find jobs, little is known about how best to help them keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report presents interim results from an evaluation in Los Angeles County that is comparing two different strategies for placing such individuals into jobs. One strategy, the Enhanced Job Club (EJC) model, seeks to place individuals in jobs that are in line with their careers of interest, under the theory that this might result in greater job retention and advancement. The other strategy, the Traditional Job Club (TJC) model, seeks to place individuals quickly in any type of job, under the theory that any job provides good training in work skills and may lead to better job opportunities. The evaluation is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which was conceived by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC under contract to ACF, with additional funding from the U.S. Department...

    Although much is known about how to help welfare applicants and recipients find jobs, little is known about how best to help them keep jobs or advance in the labor market. This report presents interim results from an evaluation in Los Angeles County that is comparing two different strategies for placing such individuals into jobs. One strategy, the Enhanced Job Club (EJC) model, seeks to place individuals in jobs that are in line with their careers of interest, under the theory that this might result in greater job retention and advancement. The other strategy, the Traditional Job Club (TJC) model, seeks to place individuals quickly in any type of job, under the theory that any job provides good training in work skills and may lead to better job opportunities. The evaluation is part of the Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project, which was conceived by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The ERA project is being conducted by MDRC under contract to ACF, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.
    
    From June 2002 through December 2004, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services and the Los Angeles County Office of Education jointly ran these two types of job club workshop models for unemployed Temporary Assistance for Needy Families applicants and recipients who were in the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program. The EJC model focused on career development activities and targeted job searches during a five-week period, while the TJC model focused on quick job entry during a three-week period. Notably, as part of a late-1990s evaluation in Los Angeles, the TJC model had been found to be successful in increasing individuals’ employment earnings when compared with providing them with no mandatory welfare-to-work services. The EJC model thus was an attempt to see whether further improvement was possible — specifically, whether a different type of job club could help individuals find jobs that they could retain and use as a basis for advancement.
    
    The study used a random assignment research design: GAIN-mandatory individuals in two regions of the county were assigned, through a lottery-like process, to the EJC group and immediately scheduled for EJC workshops or to the TJC group and immediately scheduled for TJC workshops. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Martinez, John
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2002

    Public housing residents are commonly thought to be harder to employ than other low-income working-age populations, but detailed evidence on their actual employment experiences and difficulties is scarce. The dearth of information can hinder efforts by policymakers and administrators to reduce the high rates of poverty, joblessness, and related social problems found in many public housing developments across the country.

    This report helps to address the information gap by analyzing data from a special survey of residents in eight public housing developments (in seven cities) with customarily high rates of joblessness and reliance on welfare. These developments have been part of the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment and quality-of-life outcomes. The survey, undertaken to collect baseline data about the communities and their residents just prior to the start of the Jobs-Plus program, sheds important light on how closely...

    Public housing residents are commonly thought to be harder to employ than other low-income working-age populations, but detailed evidence on their actual employment experiences and difficulties is scarce. The dearth of information can hinder efforts by policymakers and administrators to reduce the high rates of poverty, joblessness, and related social problems found in many public housing developments across the country.

    This report helps to address the information gap by analyzing data from a special survey of residents in eight public housing developments (in seven cities) with customarily high rates of joblessness and reliance on welfare. These developments have been part of the Jobs-Plus Community Revitalization Initiative for Public Housing Families, an ambitious research demonstration project that aims to improve residents’ employment and quality-of-life outcomes. The survey, undertaken to collect baseline data about the communities and their residents just prior to the start of the Jobs-Plus program, sheds important light on how closely residents were already connected to the labor market, what kinds of jobs they obtained, and why some residents worked or looked for work less than other residents.

    Key Findings

    • The survey of residents revealed a more extensive and varied connection to the labor market than had been expected, given the very low rates of employment that characterized the public housing developments in the years prior to their selection for Jobs-Plus in the mid-1990s. Slightly more than 90 percent had worked at some point in their lives, and a majority were either currently employed or searching for work at the time of the survey.
    • Many residents who worked did so only part time, and the majority were employed in low-wage jobs paying less than $7.75 per hour and offering no fringe benefits.
    • Health status was the factor most clearly associated with residents’ engagement in the labor market. Survey respondents who described themselves as having health problems were less likely than others to have had recent work experience or to engage in job search activities.
    • Even with extensive data, it is difficult to create statistical profiles that accurately differentiate survey respondents who can be characterized as easier to employ from those who are harder to employ. Across a wide range of measures — including demographic characteristics, incidence of domestic violence, and residents’ social networks — no consistent patterns emerged to distinguish which residents were most actively and least actively involved in the labor market.

    Building on these new insights into public housing residents’ relationship to the labor market, future studies will explore how financial incentives, employment services, and the reinforcement of community supports for work can increase residents’ success in the labor market. (author abstract)

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