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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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The SSRC Library collection is constantly growing and new research is added regularly. We welcome our users to submit a library item to help us grow our collection in response to your needs.


  • Individual Author: Spaulding, Shayne; Blount, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2018

    Employers need skilled workers to fill open jobs. Yet some workers face barriers to employment, even as the national unemployment rate dips to its lowest level in nearly two decades. These workers might face such challenges as a lack of skills, gaps in employment, or previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

    Workforce development programs can help these workers overcome barriers to employment, helping them become a valuable resource to employers. Community-based organizations (CBOs) rooted in local communities and neighborhoods strive to engage employers and build trusting relationships with them to help workers get jobs and succeed at work while ensuring that employment programs meet employer needs.

    CBOs face challenges engaging with employers, but they can be overcome

    CBOs serving people with barriers to work face challenges in engaging employers. Employers are often wary of working with these groups or might perceive these organizations as working with less desirable employees. Persistent discrimination in hiring practices can...

    Employers need skilled workers to fill open jobs. Yet some workers face barriers to employment, even as the national unemployment rate dips to its lowest level in nearly two decades. These workers might face such challenges as a lack of skills, gaps in employment, or previous involvement in the criminal justice system.

    Workforce development programs can help these workers overcome barriers to employment, helping them become a valuable resource to employers. Community-based organizations (CBOs) rooted in local communities and neighborhoods strive to engage employers and build trusting relationships with them to help workers get jobs and succeed at work while ensuring that employment programs meet employer needs.

    CBOs face challenges engaging with employers, but they can be overcome

    CBOs serving people with barriers to work face challenges in engaging employers. Employers are often wary of working with these groups or might perceive these organizations as working with less desirable employees. Persistent discrimination in hiring practices can make it even more difficult to help participants with these characteristics or backgrounds secure employment.

    This report highlights promising approaches and strategies CBOs can use to engage with employers. The findings are based on the experiences of three grantees under JPMorgan Chase’s New Skills at Work initiative: Cara Chicago, Henry Street Settlement, and Community Learning Center Inc.

    Strategies CBOs use to engage with employers

    Several themes emerged from our conversations with program staff, partner organizations, and employers regarding their approaches to employer engagement:

    • Carefully select and target employer partners. An intentional approach to identifying and selecting partners is important for assisting participants with significant barriers to employment. When prospecting, CBOs can look for employers that meet certain criteria, such as being community minded and having the desire to invest in workers.
    • Ensure service delivery reflects a strong knowledge of employer and job seeker needs. The organizations we visited talked about the intensive work they do to understand employer and job seeker needs and then design services to meet those needs. Staff said aligning and customizing “concierge-level” services was key to effectively engaging employers.
    • Build trusting relationships with employers by providing high-quality service and making good matches. CBOs assisting people with barriers to employment must make the best match. CBOs must learn the needs of job seekers and employers, make good matches between the two, and provide support to ensure matches are successful. Building trust with an employer is about high-quality service over time.
    • Help employers get beyond stigma. One of the biggest barriers job seekers face is the stigma employers attach to particular groups or communities and the CBOs that serve them. To move beyond this stigma, CBOs can focus on the assets of job seekers, expose employers to job seekers in nonhiring settings, use transitional jobs to open up access, and advocate for specific participants.
    • Leverage partnerships and community knowledge as an employer engagement strategy. CBOs used their knowledge of community and business needs to develop and strengthen their strategies for engaging employers. They seemed to understand the needs of their communities and employer partners and how to leverage partnerships to meet those needs.

    This report adds to our knowledge base by identifying the employer engagement strategies and approaches used by community-based organizations assisting people with significant barriers to employment. The goal is to help CBOs identify and implement effective strategies and to inform public and private funders about such approaches. (Author abstract) 

     

  • Individual Author: Hong, Philip Young P; Choi, Sangmi; Key, Whitney
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2018

    The purpose of this study was, first, to validate the factor structure of psychological self-sufficiency (PSS) and, second, to investigate the extent to which PSS affects economic self-sufficiency (ESS) among low-income job seekers. PSS is conceptualized as a transformative process-driven psychological capital that comprises employment hope and perceived employment barriers. Using a sample of 802 low-income job seekers from two different local job training programs in Chicago, a multisample confirmatory factor analysis tested the factor structure of PSS, and a structural equation modeling analysis was conducted to test the hypothesized pathways to ESS, examining employment hope and perceived employment barriers individually and taking the difference score between the two. Findings revealed that PSS significantly contributes to ESS. Workforce development practitioners need to focus on clients’ PSS when working with them to achieve ESS. Benchmarking PSS, providing adequate supportive services, and engaging employers are warranted as ways to build a system that generates successful...

    The purpose of this study was, first, to validate the factor structure of psychological self-sufficiency (PSS) and, second, to investigate the extent to which PSS affects economic self-sufficiency (ESS) among low-income job seekers. PSS is conceptualized as a transformative process-driven psychological capital that comprises employment hope and perceived employment barriers. Using a sample of 802 low-income job seekers from two different local job training programs in Chicago, a multisample confirmatory factor analysis tested the factor structure of PSS, and a structural equation modeling analysis was conducted to test the hypothesized pathways to ESS, examining employment hope and perceived employment barriers individually and taking the difference score between the two. Findings revealed that PSS significantly contributes to ESS. Workforce development practitioners need to focus on clients’ PSS when working with them to achieve ESS. Benchmarking PSS, providing adequate supportive services, and engaging employers are warranted as ways to build a system that generates successful employment and retention paths and outcomes. (Author abstract)

  • 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: Coley, Rebekah Levine; Ribar, David; Votruba-Drzal, Elizabeth
    Reference Type: Journal Article
    Year: 2011

    Economically disadvantaged mothers face numerous barriers to stable, quality employment opportunities. One barrier that has received limited attention in previous research is having a child with significant psychological or behavioral problems. Using a representative sample of low-income mothers and early adolescent children from the Three-City Study (N = 717), we assessed whether adolescents' behavior problems prospectively predicted mothers' employment status, consistency, and quality. Lagged random-effects regression models suggested that adolescents' psychological distress and delinquency inhibited the labor market success of disadvantaged mothers, although school problems were related to greater work effort among mothers. Links between labor market success and both psychological distress and delinquency differed across mothers with male and female adolescents. (author abstract)

    Economically disadvantaged mothers face numerous barriers to stable, quality employment opportunities. One barrier that has received limited attention in previous research is having a child with significant psychological or behavioral problems. Using a representative sample of low-income mothers and early adolescent children from the Three-City Study (N = 717), we assessed whether adolescents' behavior problems prospectively predicted mothers' employment status, consistency, and quality. Lagged random-effects regression models suggested that adolescents' psychological distress and delinquency inhibited the labor market success of disadvantaged mothers, although school problems were related to greater work effort among mothers. Links between labor market success and both psychological distress and delinquency differed across mothers with male and female adolescents. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Visher, Christy; Debus-Sherrill, Sara; Yahner, Jennifer
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2008

    In this brief, we explore the reality of finding employment after prison from the perspective of 740 former male prisoners in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. Interviews were conducted as part of a comprehensive, longitudinal study entitled Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. Eight months after prison, 65 percent of respondents had been employed at some point, but only 45 percent were currently employed. Those who held a job while in prison or participated in job-training programs had better employment outcomes after release. Respondents who were employed and earning higher wages after release were less likely to return to prison the first year out. (Author abstract)

    In this brief, we explore the reality of finding employment after prison from the perspective of 740 former male prisoners in Illinois, Ohio, and Texas. Interviews were conducted as part of a comprehensive, longitudinal study entitled Returning Home: Understanding the Challenges of Prisoner Reentry. Eight months after prison, 65 percent of respondents had been employed at some point, but only 45 percent were currently employed. Those who held a job while in prison or participated in job-training programs had better employment outcomes after release. Respondents who were employed and earning higher wages after release were less likely to return to prison the first year out. (Author abstract)

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