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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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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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Trump’s Support for Apprenticeships Falls Short

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

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For some, the recent unveiling of President Trump’s Executive Order (EO) pledging to expand apprenticeships nationwide – programs that allow workers to “earn and learn” on the job – was a welcome action in keeping with his campaign promise to get millions of Americans back to work. Unfortunately, the EO itself and this administration’s actions so far are in direct conflict with the goal of expanding these programs. They fail to dismantle the historic and current inequities that prevent access to apprenticeship programs for millions of individuals.

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6 Things We’re Watching Out of Trump’s “Skinny Budget”

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

The Trump Administration submitted its FY18 budget blueprint to Congress this week – his “skinny budget.” The plan proposes historic cuts and outright eliminates a range of programs and services serving low-income Americans and families – all of which are critical to ensuring safety, stability, and creating pathways to employment and economic opportunity for Americans who are chronically unemployed.

Here are six programs, services, and agencies on our radar that are slated for total elimination through the Administration’s “skinny budget.” As Congress debates FY18 funding priorities we hope you’ll stand with us to defend these and other vital efforts serving low-income Americans.

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