Together, We Can Be #ANationThatWorks

By Tara Maguire, Workforce Research & Policy Fellow, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
2016-08-24 - Nation That Works Poster_Minimal Text

What’s it going to take to end chronic unemployment and poverty for all Americans? What’s it going to take to make us #ANationThatWorks for everyone? On October 25 through 27 in Chicago, we invite you tackle these tough questions at our national conference, A Nation That Works: What’s It Going to Take? There, you’ll encounter a wide range of content lifting up solutions to end chronic unemployment, supporting the adoption of best and promising employment practices for the people who need them most, and advancing policy solutions and systems change for addressing chronic unemployment and poverty. We’ll also highlight efforts in Chicago and across the country to improve job quality for low-wage workers. Excited? We are! Read on to learn more about what to expect at #ANationThatWorks.

#1: Lifting Up Solutions to End Chronic Unemployment
At #ANationThatWorks, we’ll shine a spotlight on the efforts of dozens of community-based organizations, cities, and states that are working to end chronic unemployment. We’ll highlight innovative efforts to address chronic unemployment among populations such as opportunity youth—including youth of color and youth experiencing homelessness—homeless jobseekers, people returning from incarceration, and other low-income, unemployed populations. We’re especially excited that conference attendees will have the opportunity to participate in site visits with innovative employment initiatives serving individuals facing barriers to employment in Chicago. Below, you can see a photo from Sweet Beginnings, one of our site visit options. They’re an awesome social enterprise that extracts their honey from an urban apiary in the heart of Chicago and makes and sells an all-natural line of raw honey and honey-infused body care products—all while helping people returning home from incarceration succeed in employment.

Sweet Beginnings

#2: Supporting the Adoption of Best & Promising Employment Practices
Our conference will support the adoption of best and promising practices in addressing the employment, service, financial empowerment, and career pathways interests and needs of jobseekers facing barriers to employment. We’ve drawn from our own vast collection of resources, applied research, innovative direct services, and the efforts of our stakeholders nationwide to put together some great sessions such as Delivering Trauma-Informed Care in an Employment Context and Strategies for Behavior Change Among the Most Vulnerable Youth. We know you’ll benefit from the expertise of our national partners in specialties such as transitional jobs; social enterprise (REDF will host our opening night reception!); IPS and other earn and learn approaches; racial and economic equity; corrections and reentry; homelessness and housing; the application of therapeutic techniques in service provision; sector initiatives; adult basic education; vocational rehabilitation; and many others. A few of the direct service organizations from across the country that’ll be sharing their knowledge are the Center for Employment Opportunities, Roca, Connections to Success, and Friendship Place.

Whats It Going To Take 2

#3: Advancing Local, State, and Federal Policy & Systems Change
We know that we need to advance solutions to the systemic issues that drive chronic unemployment—and that’s why we’ll highlight federal policies and funding streams that can be used to support the employment needs of people facing barriers to work and provide practical ideas for implementation. We’ll also lift up innovative ways communities and states are leveraging resources, shifting policy, collaborating across systems, and advancing campaigns to help ensure jobseekers facing barriers to employment can succeed in work. Here’s just one conference session to check out: Coordinating Systems and Matching Jobseekers to Services: Piloting an Integrated Reentry & Employment Strategy in Milwaukee County. Finally, we’ll be drawing on insights of local, state, and federal agency officials as well as national policy experts, thought leaders, researchers, and organizations that are moving the needle to open doors to employment and economic opportunity for jobseekers facing barriers to employment. We’ve already lined up speakers from some amazing organizations (think: CLASP, Center for Social Innovation, PolicyLink, and National Alliance to End Homelessness), and at our conference’s closing plenary we’ll unveil our own bold policy ideas focused on ensuring America is #ANationThatWorks for all.

Like What You Read?
Learn more and register for #ANationThatWorks.
Explore our site visit and pre-conference institute opportunities.
Think you know what it’s going to take to end chronic unemployment and poverty? We want to hear your ideas!

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About National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity is dedicated to ending chronic unemployment and poverty. We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families. Through our field building, we provide support and guidance that fosters more effective and sustainable employment efforts. Our policy and advocacy work advances solutions to the systemic issues that drive chronic unemployment.

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