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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: Fraker, Thomas; Mamun, Arif; Manno, Michelle; Martinez, John; Reed, Debbie; Thompkins, Allison; Wittenburg, David
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2012

    The Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) is a large - scale demonstration and evaluation sponsored by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve understanding of how to help youth with disabilities reach their full economic potential. In particular, SSA is interested in testing promising approaches for helping young people with disabilities become more self - sufficient and less reliant on disability benefits. The YTD conceptual framework, which was based on best practices in facilitating youth transition, specified that the six projects that participated in the evaluation provide employment services (emphasizing paid competitive employment), benefits counseling, links to services available in the community, and other assistance to youth with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the youth who received those services were eligible for SSA waivers of certain benefit program rules, which allowed them to retain more of their disability benefits and health insurance while they worked for pay. Using a rigorous random assignment methodology, the YTD evaluation team is...

    The Youth Transition Demonstration (YTD) is a large - scale demonstration and evaluation sponsored by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to improve understanding of how to help youth with disabilities reach their full economic potential. In particular, SSA is interested in testing promising approaches for helping young people with disabilities become more self - sufficient and less reliant on disability benefits. The YTD conceptual framework, which was based on best practices in facilitating youth transition, specified that the six projects that participated in the evaluation provide employment services (emphasizing paid competitive employment), benefits counseling, links to services available in the community, and other assistance to youth with disabilities and their families. Additionally, the youth who received those services were eligible for SSA waivers of certain benefit program rules, which allowed them to retain more of their disability benefits and health insurance while they worked for pay. Using a rigorous random assignment methodology, the YTD evaluation team is assessing whether these services and incentives were effective in helping youth with disabilities achieve greater independence and economic self - sufficiency. The earliest of the evaluation projects began operations in 2006 and ended in 2009. The latest started in 2008 and ended in 2012.

    In this report, we present first - year evaluation findings for West Virginia Youth Works, which served youth ages 15 through 25 who were Social Security disability beneficiaries. While it will take several more years before we fully observe the transitions that the participants in this study make to adult life, early data from the evaluation provide rich information on how Youth Works operated and the differences it made in key outcomes for youth. Specifically, the report includes findings from our process analysis of Youth Works, including a description of the program model, and documentation of how the project was implemented and services were delivered. The report also includes impact findings, based on data collected 12 months after youth entered the evaluation, on the use of services, paid employment, educational progress, income from earnings and benefits, and attitudes and expectations. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Knox, Virginia; Miller, Cynthia; Gennetian, Lisa
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) represents a new vision of welfare as a system that can simultaneously encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty. It attempts to break loose from the historical tradeoffs among these goals by implementing two complementary policies: financial incentives to reward work and reduce poverty and, for long-term welfare recipients, mandatory participation in employment-focused services to encourage and require work and reduce dependence.

    MFIP was initially implemented as a pilot program in the three urban counties of Hennepin (Minneapolis), Anoka, and Dakota, and the four rural counties of Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, and Todd. The pilot program operated from April 1994 to June 1998 and was evaluated by MDRC under contract to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The evaluation was also supported by the agencies and foundations listed at the front of this summary. A modified version of MFIP is now Minnesota’s statewide welfare program.

    This document summarizes the results presented in...

    The Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) represents a new vision of welfare as a system that can simultaneously encourage work, reduce dependence on public assistance, and reduce poverty. It attempts to break loose from the historical tradeoffs among these goals by implementing two complementary policies: financial incentives to reward work and reduce poverty and, for long-term welfare recipients, mandatory participation in employment-focused services to encourage and require work and reduce dependence.

    MFIP was initially implemented as a pilot program in the three urban counties of Hennepin (Minneapolis), Anoka, and Dakota, and the four rural counties of Mille Lacs, Morrison, Sherburne, and Todd. The pilot program operated from April 1994 to June 1998 and was evaluated by MDRC under contract to the Minnesota Department of Human Services. The evaluation was also supported by the agencies and foundations listed at the front of this summary. A modified version of MFIP is now Minnesota’s statewide welfare program.

    This document summarizes the results presented in the evaluation’s final report. Volume 1 of that report examines MFIP’s effects on employment, earnings, welfare receipt, income, marriage, and other outcomes for adults in single- and two-parent families for up to three years after they entered the study. Volume 2 presents the results of a special study of MFIP’s effects on children and other aspects of family well-being for single mothers who had at least one child aged 2 to 9 when they entered the study.

    MFIP’s results are particularly important because more than 40 states have incorporated a “make work pay” approach in conjunction with work requirements as part of their new, time-limited welfare reforms, which followed enactment of the 1996 federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunities Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Most commonly — as in MFIP — states have aimed to make work pay by increasing their “earned income disregard”: More of a family’s earnings are disregarded (not counted) when their welfare grant is calculated. This policy allows more people to combine work and welfare. As discussed later, MFIP also included other financial incentives to work. The MFIP pilot program did not include time limits on welfare receipt, but the newer, statewide version does.

    The evaluation results speak directly to three goals that have emerged as high priorities under PRWORA: ensuring that long-term welfare recipients make substantial strides toward self-sufficiency before reaching their time limits on welfare receipt, supporting the efforts of low-income workers to advance in their jobs and provide adequately for their families, and assuring that social policies do not discourage marriage.

    To assess MFIP’s success in achieving its ambitious goals, the evaluation used a rigorous, random assignment research design. Between April 1994 and March 1996, more than 14,000 families in seven Minnesota counties were assigned, using a lottery-like process, to either the MFIP program (the “MFIP group”) or the traditional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program (the “AFDC group”). MFIP’s effects were estimated by following the two groups over time and comparing their employment, welfare receipt, and other outcomes. The difference in outcomes between the two groups is the effect, or impact, of the MFIP program. (author abstract)

  • Individual Author: Farrell, Mary ; Hamilton, Gayle ; Schwartz, Christine ; Storto, Laura
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2000

    Michigan’s current welfare-to-work program evolved over the past decade from one that emphasized participation in education and training activities to one that focused on quick job entry as the route to financial independence for welfare recipients. In addition, it shifted many of the responsibilities previously performed by the welfare department to private and public organizations outside the welfare department and exempted fewer welfare recipients from participating in the program. The program that emerged became one of the keystones of Michigan’s overall welfare reform program, which was approved for implementation under the 1996 law.

    This report examines the welfare-to-work programs operated in two of Detroit’s welfare districts: Fullerton-Jeffries and Hamtramck. It describes Michigan Opportunity and Skills Training (MOST), an education-focused program that was in place in these two offices in 1992 at the start of the evaluation, and the transition to Work First, an employment-focused program emphasizing job search services that was implemented in October 1994 and is...

    Michigan’s current welfare-to-work program evolved over the past decade from one that emphasized participation in education and training activities to one that focused on quick job entry as the route to financial independence for welfare recipients. In addition, it shifted many of the responsibilities previously performed by the welfare department to private and public organizations outside the welfare department and exempted fewer welfare recipients from participating in the program. The program that emerged became one of the keystones of Michigan’s overall welfare reform program, which was approved for implementation under the 1996 law.

    This report examines the welfare-to-work programs operated in two of Detroit’s welfare districts: Fullerton-Jeffries and Hamtramck. It describes Michigan Opportunity and Skills Training (MOST), an education-focused program that was in place in these two offices in 1992 at the start of the evaluation, and the transition to Work First, an employment-focused program emphasizing job search services that was implemented in October 1994 and is one component of Michigan’s current welfare reform program. It follows for two years the welfare recipients who were assigned to MOST, almost one-quarter of whom were referred to the Work First program within the two-year period, and examines the types of services and messages that they received, the cost of both strategies, and the effects of the treatment received on welfare receipt, employment, and earnings. It follows an early group of individuals for three years.

    The Detroit welfare-to-work program is being evaluated as part of the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS Evaluation; formerly called the JOBS Evaluation), conducted by the MDRC under contract to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with support from the U.S. Department of Education and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. NEWWS is a comprehensive study of 11 welfare-to-work programs in seven sites. Throughout this report, comparisons are made between the Detroit program and the other NEWWS programs. Two recently released reports provide a more comprehensive comparison among all programs, including results on children’s well-being, child care use while employed, supports provided to individuals who leave welfare for employment, and additional measures of self-sufficiency. A future report will examine five-year results for all programs and will compare program benefits with program costs.

     

    author abstract.

  • Individual Author: Meckstroth, Alicia; Burwick, Andrew; Moore, Quinn; Ponza, Michael
    Reference Type: Report
    Year: 2009

    This issue brief reviews key findings from Mathematica’s study of the Building Nebraska Families (BNF) program, an intensive home visitation and life skills education program to prepare high-risk Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients in rural Nebraska to succeed in the world of work and improve their families’ well-being. BNF operated in more than 10 multi-county rural service areas from 2002 to 2005. The study was part of Mathematica’s Rural Welfare-to-Work (RWtW) Strategies Demonstration Evaluation, which used a random assignment experiment to rigorously assess the effectiveness of innovative programs for the rural poor. The research shows that BNF’s intensive approach holds promise for very hard-to-employ TANF clients who face substantial hurdles and skill deficiencies. (author abstract)

    This issue brief reviews key findings from Mathematica’s study of the Building Nebraska Families (BNF) program, an intensive home visitation and life skills education program to prepare high-risk Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) clients in rural Nebraska to succeed in the world of work and improve their families’ well-being. BNF operated in more than 10 multi-county rural service areas from 2002 to 2005. The study was part of Mathematica’s Rural Welfare-to-Work (RWtW) Strategies Demonstration Evaluation, which used a random assignment experiment to rigorously assess the effectiveness of innovative programs for the rural poor. The research shows that BNF’s intensive approach holds promise for very hard-to-employ TANF clients who face substantial hurdles and skill deficiencies. (author abstract)

  • 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)

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