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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: Bellotti, Jeanne; Sattar, Samina; Gould-Werth, Alix; Berk, Jillian; Gutierrez, Ivette; Stein, Jillian; Betesh, Hannah; Ochoa, Lindsay; Wiegand, Andrew
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    To help individuals successfully reenter society after time in jail, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded $10 million in grants to 20 local workforce development boards (LWDBs) in June 2015 for the Linking to Employment Activities PreRelease (LEAP) initiative. Central to the LEAP initiative was creating jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) with direct linkages to community-based AJCs. A complex array of factors including jail and local community characteristics influenced the development and operations of jail-based AJCs as well as the experiences and outcomes of participants (Figure ES.1). The overarching goals were to increase participants’ work readiness at the time of release, increase employment after release, and reduce recidivism; additional goals for the pilot initiative included demonstrating that corrections and workforce agencies could effectively collaborate to provide pre-release services, generate lessons learned around promising strategies and common challenges that could inform future efforts; and identify ways for grantees to sustain the jail-based AJCs...

    To help individuals successfully reenter society after time in jail, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) awarded $10 million in grants to 20 local workforce development boards (LWDBs) in June 2015 for the Linking to Employment Activities PreRelease (LEAP) initiative. Central to the LEAP initiative was creating jail-based American Job Centers (AJCs) with direct linkages to community-based AJCs. A complex array of factors including jail and local community characteristics influenced the development and operations of jail-based AJCs as well as the experiences and outcomes of participants (Figure ES.1). The overarching goals were to increase participants’ work readiness at the time of release, increase employment after release, and reduce recidivism; additional goals for the pilot initiative included demonstrating that corrections and workforce agencies could effectively collaborate to provide pre-release services, generate lessons learned around promising strategies and common challenges that could inform future efforts; and identify ways for grantees to sustain the jail-based AJCs when the DOL-funded grant ended. The grants covered 9 months of planning and 15 months of service delivery, with many grantees receiving up to a one-year no-cost extension to finish spending down remaining grant resources. Grantees were geographically diverse, located in 13 states across 5 DOL regions, and involved a total of 22 county jails.

    Workforce development, corrections, and other partners, as well as participants, identified many successes along with significant challenges and promising strategies to address them. The qualitative evidence collected through this implementation evaluation suggests that introducing new services, partnerships, and ways of thinking about reentry hold promise for lasting effects on the workforce and corrections systems in some sites. The experiences of the LEAP grantees highlight important lessons learned and some areas for continued refinement or potential replication in similar or different contexts. Although this implementation evaluation cannot make causal claims, the evidence suggests that it is possible to use jail-based AJCs to link participants to post-release services and that this may be a promising approach to support returning individuals in successful reentry. (Edited author executive summary)

  • Individual Author: Schneider, Daniel ; Harknett, Kristen; McLanahan, Sara
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2016

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

    In the United States, the Great Recession was marked by severe negative shocks to labor market conditions. In this study, we combine longitudinal data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study with U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data on local area unemployment rates to examine the relationship between adverse labor market conditions and mothers’ experiences of abusive behavior between 2001 and 2010. Unemployment and economic hardship at the household level were positively related to abusive behavior. Further, rapid increases in the unemployment rate increased men’s controlling behavior toward romantic partners even after we adjust for unemployment and economic distress at the household level. We interpret these findings as demonstrating that the uncertainty and anticipatory anxiety that go along with sudden macroeconomic downturns have negative effects on relationship quality, above and beyond the effects of job loss and material hardship. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Lam, Ken; DeMarco, Donna; Rodger, Christopher; Kaul, Bulbul
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This study represents the impact study component of the AFI evaluation. It examines the effects of AFI participation on the three forms of asset building targeted by the AFI Program: homeownership, business ownership, and postsecondary education. The analysis also assesses the program’s impact on key components of net worth (financial assets, home equity, and consumer debt) and on employment status and income (whether employed, amount of monthly earnings, and receipt of means-tested benefits from cash assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid). The process study component of the evaluation explores how various AFI projects are planned, implemented, and operated.1 (author abstract) 

    This study represents the impact study component of the AFI evaluation. It examines the effects of AFI participation on the three forms of asset building targeted by the AFI Program: homeownership, business ownership, and postsecondary education. The analysis also assesses the program’s impact on key components of net worth (financial assets, home equity, and consumer debt) and on employment status and income (whether employed, amount of monthly earnings, and receipt of means-tested benefits from cash assistance, food stamps, or Medicaid). The process study component of the evaluation explores how various AFI projects are planned, implemented, and operated.1 (author abstract) 

  • Individual Author: Mills, Gregory; Ciurea, Michelle; DeMarco, Donna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    This report provides key findings from case studies developed on 14 Assets for Independence (AFI)-funded individual development account (IDA) projects. IDAs are personal savings accounts targeted to low-income persons that encourage participants to save for specific types of assets by providing matching funds when the accountholder makes withdrawals for an allowable asset purchase. The rationale for IDAs lies in the proposition that income transfers have eased the hardship of the poor but have been less effective in enabling low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. An alternative view that emerged in the early 1990s was that to promote economic advancement and self-sufficiency—as well as to encourage socially positive behaviors—policies should focus on asset accumulation, in combination with income support. The AFI Act calls for an evaluation of AFI projects to be carried out by an independent research organization under contract to HHS. The evaluation is to analyze the effects of incentives and services on participant savings; the extent to which participant...

    This report provides key findings from case studies developed on 14 Assets for Independence (AFI)-funded individual development account (IDA) projects. IDAs are personal savings accounts targeted to low-income persons that encourage participants to save for specific types of assets by providing matching funds when the accountholder makes withdrawals for an allowable asset purchase. The rationale for IDAs lies in the proposition that income transfers have eased the hardship of the poor but have been less effective in enabling low-income families to become economically self-sufficient. An alternative view that emerged in the early 1990s was that to promote economic advancement and self-sufficiency—as well as to encourage socially positive behaviors—policies should focus on asset accumulation, in combination with income support. The AFI Act calls for an evaluation of AFI projects to be carried out by an independent research organization under contract to HHS. The evaluation is to analyze the effects of incentives and services on participant savings; the extent to which participant savings vary by demographic; the economic, civic, psychological and social effects of savings; the effects of project participation on savings rates, homeownership, postsecondary educational attainment, and self-employment; the potential financial returns from IDAs to the Federal government and other public and private sector investors over a 5-year and 10-year period of time; and the lessons learned from the demonstration project and whether an IDA program should become permanent. The Act specifies further that the evaluation is to utilize a control group to compare AFI project participants with nonparticipants, and to utilize both quantitative and qualitative data. A final evaluation is to be completed within one year following the conclusion of all AFI projects funded under the Act. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Griffen, Sarah
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    Two principal characteristics distinguish intermediary and sector projects from the generation of workforce projects that preceded them. First, the new approach recognizes that short-term training programs do not address the complicated set of factors inhibiting low-skilled adults from earning family-sustaining wages. Second, workforce development practitioners increasingly recognize that focusing solely on the trainee ignores the essential role of the employer. The comprehensive, long-term, “dual customer” approach that the workforce intermediaries have adopted strives to bridge the gap between what business needs to remain competitive (demand) and where potential or existing workers are in terms of skills and abilities (supply).

    As the sector and intermediary field matures, and as the seed funding that launched many projects expires, a key question emerges: how can these projects be sustained so that they can fulfill the promise of meeting both worker and employer needs? This question embodies three principal types of sustainability challenge: financing, infrastructure,...

    Two principal characteristics distinguish intermediary and sector projects from the generation of workforce projects that preceded them. First, the new approach recognizes that short-term training programs do not address the complicated set of factors inhibiting low-skilled adults from earning family-sustaining wages. Second, workforce development practitioners increasingly recognize that focusing solely on the trainee ignores the essential role of the employer. The comprehensive, long-term, “dual customer” approach that the workforce intermediaries have adopted strives to bridge the gap between what business needs to remain competitive (demand) and where potential or existing workers are in terms of skills and abilities (supply).

    As the sector and intermediary field matures, and as the seed funding that launched many projects expires, a key question emerges: how can these projects be sustained so that they can fulfill the promise of meeting both worker and employer needs? This question embodies three principal types of sustainability challenge: financing, infrastructure, and operations.

    Unless these issues are considered and the lessons applied to practice, policy, and funding streams, intermediary and sector projects may be short-lived. In a field whose effectiveness is already questioned, the loss of successful high-profile projects will only weaken its impact and public support. Conversely, a key opportunity awaits. If we can learn from the practice on the ground, and build policy and funding based on those experiences, the workforce development field will be able to demonstrate the kinds of results that can lead to a stronger and more competitive national economy.

    To delve into the three sustainability questions, Sustaining the Promise draws extensively on the experiences of leading sector projects and practitioners around the country, as well as the experience of the author, a sector project founder. Based on research and discussions conducted in 2007, a new picture of sustainability emerges. Rather than just a question of how to pay for intermediary and sector projects, sustainability lies in the ability of these projects to manage complex relationships and funding streams, meet multiple needs simultaneously, and stay ahead of the curve in their areas of expertise. Projects must develop highly sophisticated infrastructures, identify and maintain diverse funding (including but not exclusively from employers), and continually streamline and improve their operations.

    This finding signifies key implications for policymakers, funders, and practitioners in how to support and expand sector projects in the long run. And it leads to a number of policy recommendations that many of the practitioners interviewed are confident will enable them to sustain the promise of sector projects for poor and working adults, and for the industries in which they work. These focus on financing intermediary activities, measuring and evaluating performance, and engaging employers. (author introduction)

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