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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: Isaacs, Julia B.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2001

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed...

    As large numbers of recipients leave the welfare rolls, interest in their circumstances is widespread. Are individuals working? Are they and their families
    moving out of poverty? How are their children faring? Do they continue to need and receive assistance through other programs? To answer these questions, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded $2.9 million in grants in
    fiscal year 1998 to fourteen states and large counties to track and monitor outcomes among families leaving welfare.1 Funded out of a special congressional appropriation, these grants were designed to collect data documenting what was happening to poor families after the sweeping changes in welfare legislation. This chapter provides an overview of the design of the ASPE-funded leavers studies and reviews major cross-study findings in three areas: employment, program participation, and household income. In each area, the chapter discusses how data from administrative records are enriched by the more detailed findings emerging from surveys of former recipients. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Polit, Denise; Widom, Rebecca; Edin, Kathryn; Bowie, Stan; London, Andrew; Scott, Ellen; Valenzuela, Abel
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2001

    Since 1996, when Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act · the "welfare reform" law · welfare caseloads have dropped sharply, and the number of single mothers who work has grown dramatically. But how have poor mothers fared, now that they are playing by the new welfare rules and working?

    This report describes the experiences of women from poor urban neighborhoods who once relied on public assistance and entered the labor market. It presents findings from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change, a study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in the counties encompassing four big cities: Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia. This report draws on representative survey data and in-depth ethnographic interviews from each of those sites to compare the work experiences and life circumstances of four groups of women defined by employment status and history.

    In May 1995, the 3,900 survey respondents were receiving public assistance and living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Three to four years later, they...

    Since 1996, when Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act · the "welfare reform" law · welfare caseloads have dropped sharply, and the number of single mothers who work has grown dramatically. But how have poor mothers fared, now that they are playing by the new welfare rules and working?

    This report describes the experiences of women from poor urban neighborhoods who once relied on public assistance and entered the labor market. It presents findings from the Project on Devolution and Urban Change, a study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in the counties encompassing four big cities: Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, and Philadelphia. This report draws on representative survey data and in-depth ethnographic interviews from each of those sites to compare the work experiences and life circumstances of four groups of women defined by employment status and history.

    In May 1995, the 3,900 survey respondents were receiving public assistance and living in high-poverty neighborhoods. Three to four years later, they were interviewed about their recent employment experiences: Three-quarters had worked in the past two years, and about half were working at the time of the interview. Respondents' stories from the ethnographic interviews are interwoven throughout the report to complement and augment the survey findings. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry J.; Stoll, Michael A.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare...

    This paper uses new survey data on employers in four large metropolitan areas to examine the determinants of employer demand for welfare recipients. The results suggest a high level of demand for welfare recipients, though such demand appears fairly sensitive to business cycle conditions. A broad range of factors, including skill needs and industry, affect the prospective demand for welfare recipients among employers, while other characteristics that affect the relative supply of welfare recipients to these employers (such as location and employer use of local agencies or welfare-to-work programs) influence the extent to which such demand is realized in actual hiring. Moreover, the conditional demand for black (and to a lesser extent Hispanic) welfare recipients lags behind their representation in the welfare population and seems to be more heavily affected by employers' location and indicators of preferences than by their skill needs or overall hiring activity. Thus, a variety of factors on the demand side of the labor market continue to limit the employment options of welfare recipients, especially those who are minorities. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Polit, Denise F.; London, Andrew S.; Martinez, John M.
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Despite the strength of the American economy in the past few years, food insecurity and hunger continue to affect millions of American families. Drawing on 1998-1999 survey and ethnographic data from the Urban Change study (a multicomponent study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in four large cities), this paper describes the food security of mother-headed families who were living in highly disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and who had received or were currently receiving cash welfare benefits. The families of four groups of women were compared: those who, at the time of the interview, worked and were no longer receiving welfare; those who combined welfare and work; nonworking welfare recipients; and those who neither worked nor were then receiving welfare. The survey results indicated that food insecurity in the prior year was high in all groups. Overall, about half the families were food insecure, and hunger was found in slightly more than 15 percent of the families. Moreover, in nearly one-third of the families there were food hardships that affected the...

    Despite the strength of the American economy in the past few years, food insecurity and hunger continue to affect millions of American families. Drawing on 1998-1999 survey and ethnographic data from the Urban Change study (a multicomponent study of the implementation and effects of welfare reform in four large cities), this paper describes the food security of mother-headed families who were living in highly disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and who had received or were currently receiving cash welfare benefits. The families of four groups of women were compared: those who, at the time of the interview, worked and were no longer receiving welfare; those who combined welfare and work; nonworking welfare recipients; and those who neither worked nor were then receiving welfare. The survey results indicated that food insecurity in the prior year was high in all groups. Overall, about half the families were food insecure, and hunger was found in slightly more than 15 percent of the families. Moreover, in nearly one-third of the families there were food hardships that affected the children’s diets. Food insecurity was most prevalent among families where the mother had neither employment income nor welfare benefits. Food insecurity was lowest among the families where the mothers were working and no longer getting welfare, but even in this group 44.5 percent were food insecure, and nearly 15 percent had experienced hunger. Data from in-depth ethnographic interviews indicate that, in this population, women who are food secure nevertheless expend considerable energy piecing together strategies to ensure that there is an adequate amount of food available for themselves and their children. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Holzer, Harry
    Reference Type: Book Chapter/Book
    Year: 1996

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta,...

    A very important contribution to the field of labor economics, and in particular to the understanding of the labor market for workers with relatively low skill levels. I think we have the sense that the market looks bad, but haven't been clear on how bad it is, or how it got that way. What Employers Want provides some of the answers and identifies the important questions. It is essential reading. —Jeffrey S. Zax, University of Colorado at Boulder

    The substantial deterioration in employment and earnings among the nation's less-educated workers, especially minorities and younger males in the nation's big cities, has been tentatively ascribed to a variety of causes: an increase in required job skills, the movement of companies from the cities to the suburbs, and a rising unwillingness to hire minority job seekers. What Employers Want is the first book to replace conjecture about today's job market with first-hand information gleaned from employers about who gets hired. Drawn from a survey of over 3,000 employers in four major metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, and Detroit—this volume provides a wealth of data on what jobs are available to the less-educated, in what industries, what skills they require, where they are located, what they pay, and how they are filled.

    The evidence points to a dramatic surge in suburban, white-collar jobs. The manufacturing industry—once a steady employer of blue-collar workers—has been eclipsed by the expanding retail trade and service industries, where the vast majority of jobs are in clerical, managerial, or sales positions. Since manufacturing establishments have been the most likely employers to move from the central cities to the suburbs, the shortage of jobs for low-skill urban workers is particularly acute. In the central cities, the problem is compounded and available jobs remain vacant because employers increasingly require greater cognitive and social skills as well as specific job-related experience. Holzer reveals the extent to which minorities are routinely excluded by employer recruitment and screening practices that rely heavily on testing, informal referrals, and stable work histories. The inaccessible location and discriminatory hiring patterns of suburban employers further limit the hiring of black males in particular, while earnings, especially for minority females, remain low.

    Proponents of welfare reform often assume that stricter work requirements and shorter eligibility periods will effectively channel welfare recipients toward steady employment and off federal subsidies. What Employers Want directly challenges this premise and demonstrates that only concerted efforts to close the gap between urban employers and inner city residents can produce healthy levels of employment in the nation's cities. Professor Holzer outlines the measures that will be necessary—targeted education and training programs, improved transportation and job placement, heightened enforcement of anti-discrimination laws, and aggressive job creation strategies. Repairing urban labor markets will not be easy. This book shows why. (author abstract) 

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