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Self Sufficiency Standard

Targeted Allocation of Resources

The Self-Sufficiency Standard is used by foundations for targeting grant investments that will increase economic security. Additionally, states uses the Standard to target job training resources and helps demonstrate the pay off for investing in education and training. Using a targeted jobs strategy, the Standard helps to match job seekers with employment that pays Self-Sufficiency Wages. Through an evaluation of the local labor market and available job training and education infrastructure, the skills and geographic location of current or potential workers are evaluated and job seekers are matched to employment with family-sustaining wages. Through this analysis it is possible to determine the jobs and sectors on which to target training and education resources, including training for occupations that are nontraditional for women and people of color.

  • Gary Community Investments uses the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Colorado to target funding that will lead to improved economic security for low-income families. 

  • In 2012, the United Way of Erie County challenged their community to reduce the number of families who cannot meet their basic needs by 10,000 before the year 2025. To measure progress toward this goal, the United Way has chosen to use the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Pennsylvania to define the level of income needed to meet basic needs. Under the United Way umbrella, a two-year funded pilot program has been initiated that provides a non-traditional model of financial literacy education to participating consumers from three social service organizations and one mental health organization. The Pennsylvania Self Sufficiency Standard and budget calculator are being used to measure and track participant progress towards self-sufficiency.

  • The Leichtag Foundation in San Diego has a self-sufficiency grant program aimed at giving people the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty.
  • In California’s Santa Clara County, the Self-Sufficiency Standard was used in a sectoral employment intervention analysis that focused on the availability of nontraditional jobs, the geographical spread of those jobs, the availability of training resources, and wage rates. The analysis led to a curriculum and counselor training package that targeted transportation jobs and provided $140,000 to the community college system to explore how to strengthen preparation for these jobs (see

  • Following the release of the Crittenton Women’s Union (CWU) 2005 report Achieving Success in the New Economy: Which Jobs Help Women Reach Economic Self Sufficiency, CWU has established an online Hot Jobs for Women guide. Using the Self-Sufficiency Standard for Massachusetts, the online guide assists women in identifying jobs in high demand that pay Self-Sufficiency Wages, yet require two years or less in full-time education or training.

  • In Washington, D.C., the Standard was used in the 2000 Workforce Investment Act statute, which requires that the Workforce Investment Board target job-training dollars in high-growth occupations and assess the quality of the jobs in order to meet the wage and supportive service needs of job seekers.

  • The Philadelphia Workforce Investment Board has used the Self-Sufficiency Standard since 2000 as part of its priority of service policy in that individuals who are not making a sufficient wage are considered for training.

  • The Missouri Women’s Council of the Department of Economic Development used the Standard to begin a program for low-income women that promotes nontraditional career development, leading to jobs paying Self-Sufficiency Wages.

  • In Connecticut, the Self-Sufficiency Standard has been adopted at the state level since 1998. It has been used in planning state-supported job training, placement and employment retention programs, and has been distributed to all state agencies that counsel individuals seeking education, training, or employment. Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women regularly uses the Self-Sufficiency Standard in legislative testimony.

  • In New York, the Standard has been used in modeling services for young adults in career education to demonstrate how their future career choices and educational paths might impact their ability to support a future family or to address changing family dynamics. The Standard has also been used in New York for job readiness planning for women seeking skilled employment.

  • In Delaware, the Standard was used to train people from the developmental disability community on how to retain their benefits when returning to the workforce.