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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: Phillips, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    In urban areas job vacancies often exist but poor, minority residents tend to be concentrated in neighborhoods with limited geographic access to these jobs. Using a randomized field experiment with public transit subsidies, I test whether this spatial mismatch of workers from jobs causes poor labor market outcomes. Randomly selected clients of a non-profit employment agency received a public transit subsidy to assist in applying to jobs and attending interviews with potential employers. I find evidence that the transit subsidies have a large, short-run effect in reducing unemployment durations with treatment causing the probability of finding employment within 40 days to increase by 9 percentage points, from 0.26 to 0.35. After 90 days, this difference narrows to a large but statistically insignificant 5 percentage points. I find weaker evidence that this decrease in unemployment duration results from more intense search behavior, with the transit subsidy group applying to more jobs and jobs further from home. To my knowledge, these results provide the first experimental...

    In urban areas job vacancies often exist but poor, minority residents tend to be concentrated in neighborhoods with limited geographic access to these jobs. Using a randomized field experiment with public transit subsidies, I test whether this spatial mismatch of workers from jobs causes poor labor market outcomes. Randomly selected clients of a non-profit employment agency received a public transit subsidy to assist in applying to jobs and attending interviews with potential employers. I find evidence that the transit subsidies have a large, short-run effect in reducing unemployment durations with treatment causing the probability of finding employment within 40 days to increase by 9 percentage points, from 0.26 to 0.35. After 90 days, this difference narrows to a large but statistically insignificant 5 percentage points. I find weaker evidence that this decrease in unemployment duration results from more intense search behavior, with the transit subsidy group applying to more jobs and jobs further from home. To my knowledge, these results provide the first experimental confirmation that spatial mismatch of workers from jobs can cause adverse labor market outcomes for poor, urban individuals. (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: Redcross, Cindy; Millenky, Megan; Rudd, Timothy; Levshin, Valerie
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    This report presents the final results of the evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO is one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social and education policy research organization, is leading the evaluation, in collaboration with the Urban Institute and other partners.

    Based in New York City, CEO is a comprehensive employment program for former prisoners — a population confronting many obstacles to finding and maintaining work. CEO provides temporary, paid jobs and other services in an effort to improve participants’ labor market prospects and reduce the odds that they will return to prison. The study uses a rigorous random assignment design: it compares outcomes for individuals assigned to the program group, who...

    This report presents the final results of the evaluation of the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO). CEO is one of four sites in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan social and education policy research organization, is leading the evaluation, in collaboration with the Urban Institute and other partners.

    Based in New York City, CEO is a comprehensive employment program for former prisoners — a population confronting many obstacles to finding and maintaining work. CEO provides temporary, paid jobs and other services in an effort to improve participants’ labor market prospects and reduce the odds that they will return to prison. The study uses a rigorous random assignment design: it compares outcomes for individuals assigned to the program group, who were given access to CEO’s jobs and other services, with the outcomes for those assigned to the control group, who were offered basic job search assistance at CEO along with other services in the community.

    The three-year evaluation found that CEO substantially increased employment early in the follow-up period but that the effects faded over time. The initial increase in employment was due to the temporary jobs provided by the program. After the first year, employment and earnings were similar for both the program group and the control group. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Kim, Sue; LeBlanc, Allen; Morris, Pamela; Simon, Greg; Walter, Johanna
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    Although many public assistance recipients suffer from depression, few receive consistent treatment. This report presents 36-month results from a random assignment evaluation of a one-year program that provided telephonic care management to encourage depressed parents, who were Medicaid recipients in Rhode Island, to seek treatment from mental health professionals. Called “Working toward Wellness” (WtW), the program represents one of four strategies being studied in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project to improve employment for low-income parents who face serious barriers to employment. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the Department of Labor.

    This report focuses on assessing the success of the program’s efforts to improve depression symptoms and work-related outcomes, two years after the end of the intervention. In WtW, master’s-level...

    Although many public assistance recipients suffer from depression, few receive consistent treatment. This report presents 36-month results from a random assignment evaluation of a one-year program that provided telephonic care management to encourage depressed parents, who were Medicaid recipients in Rhode Island, to seek treatment from mental health professionals. Called “Working toward Wellness” (WtW), the program represents one of four strategies being studied in the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project to improve employment for low-income parents who face serious barriers to employment. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with additional funding from the Department of Labor.

    This report focuses on assessing the success of the program’s efforts to improve depression symptoms and work-related outcomes, two years after the end of the intervention. In WtW, master’s-level clinicians (“care managers”) telephoned the study participants in the program group to encourage them to seek treatment, to make sure that they were complying with treatment, and to provide telephonic counseling. The effects of the program are being studied by examining 499 depressed Medicaid recipients with children; these parents were randomly assigned to either the program group or the control group from November 2004 to October 2006. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Jacobs, Erin; Bloom, Dan
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2011

    As welfare caseloads have declined over the past decade, policymakers and administrators have focused increasingly on long-term and hard-to-employ recipients who have not made a stable transition from welfare to work. Many of these recipients face serious barriers to employment, such as physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, and limited work and educational backgrounds.

    This report presents final results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for hard-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Philadelphia. The study is part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing innovative employment strategies for groups facing serious obstacles to finding and keeping a steady job. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is being...

    As welfare caseloads have declined over the past decade, policymakers and administrators have focused increasingly on long-term and hard-to-employ recipients who have not made a stable transition from welfare to work. Many of these recipients face serious barriers to employment, such as physical and mental health problems, substance abuse, and limited work and educational backgrounds.

    This report presents final results from an evaluation of two different welfare-to-work strategies for hard-to-employ recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) in Philadelphia. The study is part of the Enhanced Services for the Hard-to-Employ Demonstration and Evaluation Project, which is testing innovative employment strategies for groups facing serious obstacles to finding and keeping a steady job. The project is sponsored by the Administration for Children and Families and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with additional funding from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is being conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization, along with the Urban Institute and other partners.

    The first approach being tested is a transitional jobs model that was operated by the Transitional Work Corporation (TWC). TWC quickly placed recipients who were referred by the welfare agency into temporary, subsidized jobs; provided work-related supports; and then, building on this work experience, helped participants look for permanent jobs. The second model, called “Success Through Employment Preparation” (STEP), aimed to assess and address participants’ barriers to employment — such as health problems or inadequate skills — before they went to work. (author abstract)

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