The ELEVATE Act Seeks to Reduce Barriers to Employment
By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
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.
The ELEVATE Act would create a new, federally funded national subsidized employment program. The program aims to address both cyclical and structural unemployment by increasing federal funds for communities to implement subsidized employment in times of high unemployment or in areas where there is concentrated unemployment, even when the economy is doing well. The program would target individuals who face structural barriers to employment—including people with a criminal record and individuals experiencing homelessness.
The ELEVATE Act represents an important piece of legislation that is needed to advance the national conversation on ensuring that every person, regardless of the barriers they face, has equitable access to employment and economic opportunity.
We urge you to contact your members of Congress to voice your support and ask them to co-sponsor the ELEVATE Act. You can dial the capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your member of Congress.
In the months ahead, other similar proposals may be introduced. What many of these proposals have in common is the belief that the federal government has a responsibility to play stronger a role in ensuring that everyone who wants to work has access to the labor market and that principles of equity and opportunity are upheld for all.
In that spirit, our teams will be releasing a set of principles and recommendations drawn from our experience and partnerships in communities. Our ideas seek to ensure that these bold proposals operationalize access to employment for all by striving for equitable access and outcomes.
You can get a sense of where we’re heading by checking out these two earlier blog posts:
- Values and Principles to Guide Employment Programming and Policy >>
- How Long Should Subsidized Employment Last? As Long as Necessary. >>