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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: Manno, Michelle ; Yang, Edith
    Reference Type: Conference Paper
    Year: 2015

    This presentation from the 2015 NAWRS workshop describes an implementation study of a workforce development program for disconnected youth named Project Rise. Funded by a Social Innovation Fund grant and delivered across three sites in New York, NY, Newark, NJ, and Kansas City, MO, the program provides job-readiness preparation, academic instruction, internships and transition support for young adults without a high school diploma who have been disconnected from education for at least 6 months.

    This presentation from the 2015 NAWRS workshop describes an implementation study of a workforce development program for disconnected youth named Project Rise. Funded by a Social Innovation Fund grant and delivered across three sites in New York, NY, Newark, NJ, and Kansas City, MO, the program provides job-readiness preparation, academic instruction, internships and transition support for young adults without a high school diploma who have been disconnected from education for at least 6 months.

  • Individual Author: Manno, Michelle S.; Yang, Edith; Bangser, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2015

    Educational attainment and early work experience provide a crucial foundation for future success. However, many young adults are disconnected from both school and the job market. Neglecting these young people can exact a heavy toll on not only the individuals but also society as a whole, for example, through lost productivity and tax contributions, increased dependence on public assistance, and higher rates of criminal activity.

    Project Rise served 18- to 24-year-olds who lacked a high school diploma or the equivalent and had been out of school, out of work, and not in any type of education or training program for at least six months. After enrolling as part of a group (or cohort) of 25 to 30 young people, Project Rise participants were to engage in a 12-month sequence of activities centered on case management, classroom education focused mostly on preparation for a high school equivalency certificate, and a paid part-time internship that was conditional on adequate attendance in the educational component. After the internship, participants were expected to enter...

    Educational attainment and early work experience provide a crucial foundation for future success. However, many young adults are disconnected from both school and the job market. Neglecting these young people can exact a heavy toll on not only the individuals but also society as a whole, for example, through lost productivity and tax contributions, increased dependence on public assistance, and higher rates of criminal activity.

    Project Rise served 18- to 24-year-olds who lacked a high school diploma or the equivalent and had been out of school, out of work, and not in any type of education or training program for at least six months. After enrolling as part of a group (or cohort) of 25 to 30 young people, Project Rise participants were to engage in a 12-month sequence of activities centered on case management, classroom education focused mostly on preparation for a high school equivalency certificate, and a paid part-time internship that was conditional on adequate attendance in the educational component. After the internship, participants were expected to enter unsubsidized employment, postsecondary education, or both. The program was operated by three organizations in New York City; one in Newark, New Jersey; and one in Kansas City, Missouri.

    The Project Rise program operations and evaluation were funded through the federal Social Innovation Fund (SIF), a public-private partnership administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity led this SIF project in collaboration with MDRC. (Author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Michalopoulos, Charles
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    Social policy evaluations usually use classical statistical methods, which may, for example, compare outcomes for program and comparison groups and determine whether the estimated differences (or impacts) are statistically significant — meaning they are unlikely to have been generated by a program with no effect. This approach has two important shortcomings. First, it is geared toward testing hypotheses regarding specific possible program effects — most commonly, whether a program has zero effect. It is difficult with this framework to test a hypothesis that, say, the program’s estimated impact is larger than 10 (whether 10 percentage points, $10, or some other measure). Second, readers often view results through the lens of their own expectations. A program developer may interpret results positively even if they are not statistically significant — that is, they do not confirm the program’s effectiveness — while a skeptic might interpret with caution statistically significant impact estimates that do not follow theoretical expectations.

    This paper uses Bayesian methods —...

    Social policy evaluations usually use classical statistical methods, which may, for example, compare outcomes for program and comparison groups and determine whether the estimated differences (or impacts) are statistically significant — meaning they are unlikely to have been generated by a program with no effect. This approach has two important shortcomings. First, it is geared toward testing hypotheses regarding specific possible program effects — most commonly, whether a program has zero effect. It is difficult with this framework to test a hypothesis that, say, the program’s estimated impact is larger than 10 (whether 10 percentage points, $10, or some other measure). Second, readers often view results through the lens of their own expectations. A program developer may interpret results positively even if they are not statistically significant — that is, they do not confirm the program’s effectiveness — while a skeptic might interpret with caution statistically significant impact estimates that do not follow theoretical expectations.

    This paper uses Bayesian methods — an alternative to classical statistics — to reanalyze results from three studies in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing interventions to increase employment and reduce welfare dependency for low-income adults with serious barriers to employment. In interpreting new data from a social policy evaluation, a Bayesian analysis formally incorporates prior beliefs, or expectations (known as "priors"), about the social policy into the statistical analysis and characterizes results in terms of the distribution of possible effects, instead of whether the effects are consistent with a true effect of zero.

    The main question addressed in the paper is whether a Bayesian approach tends to confirm or contradict published results. Results of the Bayesian analysis generally confirm the published findings that impacts from the three HtE programs examined here tend to be small. This is in part because results for the three sites are broadly consistent with findings from similar studies, but in part because each of the sites included a relatively large sample. The Bayesian framework may be more informative when applied to smaller studies that might not be expected to provide statistically significant impact estimates on their own. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Butler, David; Alson, Julianna; Bloom, Dan; Deitch, Victoria; Hill, Aaron; Hsueh, JoAnn; Jacobs, Erin; Kim, Sue; McRoberts, Reanin; Redcross, Cindy
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three...

    In the context of a public safety net focused on limiting dependency and encouraging participation in the labor market, policymakers and researchers are especially interested in individuals who face obstacles to finding and keeping jobs. The Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ (HtE) Demonstration and Evaluation Project was a 10-year study that evaluated innovative strategies aimed at improving employment and other outcomes for groups who face serious barriers to employment. The project was sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. This report describes the HtE programs and summarizes the final results for each program. Additionally, it presents information for three sites from the ACF-sponsored Employment Retention and Advancement (ERA) project where hard-to-employ populations were also targeted.

    Three of the eight models that are described here led to increases in employment. Two of the three — large-scale programs that provided temporary, subsidized "transitional" jobs to facilitate entry into the workforce for long-term welfare recipients in one program and for ex-prisoners in the other — produced only short-term gains in employment, driven mainly by the transitional jobs themselves. The third one — a welfare-to-work program that provided unpaid work experience, job placement, and education services to recipients with health conditions — had longer-term gains, increasing employment and reducing the amount of cash assistance received over four years. Promising findings were also observed in other sites. An early-childhood development program that was combined with services to boost parents’ self-sufficiency increased employment and earnings for a subgroup of the study participants and increased the use of high-quality child care; the program for ex-prisoners mentioned above decreased recidivism; and an intervention for low-income parents with depression produced short-term increases in the use of in-person treatment. But other programs — case management services for low-income substance abusers and two employment strategies for welfare recipients — revealed no observed impacts.

    While these results are mixed, some directions for future research on the hard-to-employ emerged:

    • The findings from the evaluations of transitional jobs programs have influenced the design of two new federal subsidized employment initiatives, which are seeking to test approaches that may achieve longer-lasting effects.
    • The HtE evaluation illustrates some key challenges that early childhood education programs may face when adding self-sufficiency services for parents, and provides important lessons for implementation that can guide future two-generational programs for low-income parents and their young children.
    • Results from the HtE evaluation suggest future strategies for enhancing and adapting an intervention to help parents with depression that may benefit low-income populations.
    • Evidence from the HtE evaluation of employment strategies for welfare recipients along with other research indicates that combining work-focused strategies with treatment or services may be more promising than using either strategy alone, especially for people with disabilities and behavioral health problems.

    (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Hong, Philip Young P.; Sheriff, Vamadu A.; Naeger, Sandra R.
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2009

    Self-sufficiency (SS) is the epitome of America's 'reluctant' welfare state. It is generally accepted in social welfare policy circles as a concept related to independence and financial stability. Nevertheless, SS is not a term agreed upon in practice by policymakers, researchers, or service providers and is frequently used without a clear common definition. In this sense, the purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which the top-down definition of 'economic' SS as the social policy goal is consistent with how the clients of job training programs perceive the term. Using a grounded theory approach, a bottom-up definition of SS was derived from a focus group of low-income jobseekers. The focus group was transcribed for a content analysis from which a client-centered definition of SS was drawn. Findings suggest that SS is a process of developing psychological strength properties and a goal-oriented progression toward realistic financial outcomes. Implications for evidence-based community interventions for client empowerment and workforce development are suggested. (author...

    Self-sufficiency (SS) is the epitome of America's 'reluctant' welfare state. It is generally accepted in social welfare policy circles as a concept related to independence and financial stability. Nevertheless, SS is not a term agreed upon in practice by policymakers, researchers, or service providers and is frequently used without a clear common definition. In this sense, the purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which the top-down definition of 'economic' SS as the social policy goal is consistent with how the clients of job training programs perceive the term. Using a grounded theory approach, a bottom-up definition of SS was derived from a focus group of low-income jobseekers. The focus group was transcribed for a content analysis from which a client-centered definition of SS was drawn. Findings suggest that SS is a process of developing psychological strength properties and a goal-oriented progression toward realistic financial outcomes. Implications for evidence-based community interventions for client empowerment and workforce development are suggested. (author abstract)

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