New York

Fueled by a strong economy and passage of the 1996 federal welfare law, which imposed new work requirements and time limits on cash benefits, welfare caseloads declined precipitously during the 1990s. Between 1993 and 2000, the number of families on welfare dropped 56 percent nationally, with individual states experiencing reductions ranging from 20 percent to more...

The welfare system has been transformed over the past two decades, notably through the introduction of stricter work requirements and time limits on cash assistance in the 1990s. At the same time, government at both the federal and the state level invested in offering financial work supports of unprecedented scope to low-income parents. A top priority on the national...

In increasingly common currency is the idea that effective school principals, in addition to being managers and disciplinarians, must be instructional leaders of their schools — that is, they should convey to their staff members a common vision of what good instruction looks like, provide teachers with the resources and supports they need to be effective in...

Many low-income children in the early grades need after-school care. And many of these children score well below their more advantaged peers on standardized tests of reading and math. The confluence of these circumstances suggests that it may be possible to strengthen the academic component of after-school programs (now often confined to providing help with homework)...

For low-income youth who lack basic skills and drop out of school, finding employment at a living wage is a challenge. Developed by MDRC as a nonresidential alternative to Job Corps, JOBSTART was an unusual collaborative effort to help disadvantaged young people join the economic mainstream. The idea guiding this...

Over the past two decades, poverty has become increasingly concentrated in the nation’s inner cities, while many employment opportunities — especially entry-level jobs for people with limited education and skills — have relocated to the urban periphery. Roughly eight million residents in the urban communities where poverty is most entrenched do not have access to jobs...

Young people without postsecondary education or vocational credentials face an uphill battle in the competition for jobs. Though the economic boom of the 1990s cut youth unemployment by one-quarter, it failed to benefit African-American and Hispanic young people as much as their white counterparts, and youth who lacked a high school diploma were actually more likely to...

In the mid-1980s, three developments long in the making — a dramatic increase in out-of-wedlock childbearing, the high cost of providing welfare to young poor women who become mothers, and the difficulties faced by their children — became a focus of concern among policymakers and the public alike. Little was known at the time about how to help young mothers receiving...

Today’s labor market puts a high premium on literacy skills, even in jobs that once required little education or training. Not being able to read or write can stand in the way of finding and keeping a job or earning a living wage. Literacy can also affect one’s ability to be an educated consumer, an informed voter, and a helpful parent or grandparent. As leading...

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