The ELEVATE Act Seeks to Reduce Barriers to Employment

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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At Heartland Alliance, we believe every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families. For over two decades we’ve worked at the intersection of practice, policy, and research to advance bold solutions that ensure that everyone who wants to work has access to employment opportunities.

We know that the labor market excludes many people who want to work and who can and do work when offered employment opportunities and support. Even when the economy is healthy, millions of individuals struggle to get and keep work due to structural barriers that prevent access to employment and economic opportunity. That’s why we’re applauding Senator Wyden (D-OR) and Congressman Davis (D IL-13), who have introduced the Economic Ladders to End Volatility and Advance Training to Employment (ELEVATE) Act.

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Thank You for a Year of Big Change!

2018 was a big year. It was a year of unprecedented threats, unbelievable movement building and unwavering support from you, our community of dedicated advocates, friends, partners, and funders. Every report that was written, harmful legislation that was blocked and policy solution that was supported helped us get one step closer to creating a more equitable society for all. We had the opportunity to move the needle on the issues we care about most at Heartland Alliance—Housing, Health Care, Jobs, Justice, Economic Opportunity, and Safety. And we could not have done it without you.

Here is just some of the big impact you helped create with us in 2018:

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How Long Should Subsidized Employment Last? As Long as Necessary.

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity & Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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Transitional jobs and subsidized employment interventions do a great job of helping people who would not otherwise be working to earn income and gain work experience. However, these interventions have not been shown to affect long-term workforce attachment. This is likely because participants typically face structural barriers and systemic exclusion from labor markets and economic opportunity that can’t be adequately remedied by a time-limited programmatic response.

In order to leverage what subsidized employment does well (get people working) and achieve what it does not (boost long-term labor force participation), we need to consider extending the scope and duration of available subsidized employment, including indefinite and permanent subsidized work opportunities. As we work toward our goal of a nationwide, federally-funded subsidized employment initiative, it is time to reconsider our assumptions about the goals and outcomes of subsidized employment, and offer jobseekers opportunities to work as long as it takes to achieve success.

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Values and Principles to Guide Employment Programming and Policy

By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity and Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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At Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity, our policy goals and program recommendations are based on research, evidence, and data—but they are also driven by values rooted in human rights and the dignity of all people. These are the values that have guided our work in the employment field since our inception. This Labor Day, we are reflecting on our commitments and looking forward to help establish these values and principles throughout the nation for the benefit of every person who wants to work.

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What Continuum of Care System Performance Data Tell Us—& What We Still Need to Know—About Advancing Economic Opportunity for Homeless Jobseekers

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Policy Associate, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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In late April, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the 2016 Continuum of Care (CoC) system performance data. As a part of an effort to understand how CoCs operate as a system to prevent and end homelessness within their jurisdictions, CoCs are required to collect and report on a variety of performance measures including employment and income growth for adults staying in and exiting the homeless service system. The data set from HUD is packed full of important information that can help stakeholders understand how to better end homelessness in their communities. Here are some of our initial takeaways from the 2016 data, with a specific focus on Measure #4, employment and income growth of people experiencing homelessness.

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