Associate Professor and Faculty Director of the Master of Science in Social Policy program, University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice
Topics of Expertise:
Economic Inequality / Labor & Workforce / TANF & Public Assistance / Work & Family
Roberta Rehner Iversen is Associate Professor and Faculty Director of the Master of Science in Social Policy program at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. Her research and publications over the past fifteen years have centered on family economic mobility, especially in relation to families involved in welfare and workforce development policy and programs, but increasingly middle-income families as well. Under independent grants from the Annie E. Casey Foundation from 2000 to 2004, she led a national ethnographic study of families (and their employers, co-workers, neighbors, children’s schools, community organizations, training providers, etc.) involved in the Foundation’s workforce demonstration program, the Jobs Initiative. Dr. Iversen’s book-length monograph, Moving Up is a Steep Climb (2002), covered the first wave of ethnographic study in two cities. Jobs Aren’t Enough: Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-income Families (co-author, Annie Laurie Armstrong), published in 2006 by Temple University Press, covered the entire five-year, five-city study. Jobs Aren’t Enough uses new knowledge about families’ advancement efforts as a template for a revised paradigm for contemporary economic mobility. Dr. Iversen’s current research with Frank F. Furstenberg explores the challenges and management strategies of middle-income families in the economic downturn through a longitudinal, multi-site, two-country study funded by the Russell Sage Foundation (to Furstenberg).