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The Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act: Creating Access to Employment, Equity & Opportunity

factory-factory-worker-girl-1108101At 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 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. This is why we’re pleased to see the introduction of the Long-Term Unemployment Elimination Act of 2019 by Senators Van Hollen (D-MD) and Wyden (D-OR).

This legislation would establish a national subsidized employment program for the long-term unemployed with a priority on high-poverty, high unemployment communities.

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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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Integrating Rapid Re-Housing Programs and Policy With Employment Is Essential to Ending Family Homelessness

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Policy Associate, Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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As our new paper about integrating rapid re-housing and employment makes clear, far too many families in the United States are experiencing or at risk of homelessness for economic reasons. On a single night in January 2016, about 194,716 people in families with children were homeless. Over 1.2 million students nationwide were identified as experiencing homelessness at some point during the 2014-2015 school year, a figure that includes students who were living doubled up, in a motel, or in temporary housing for reasons including their family’s economic hardship.

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We Know We Can Be a Nation That Works for All

By Melissa Young, Director, Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

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This blog post is adapted from Melissa Young’s closing remarks from our 2016 national conference, A Nation That Works: What’s It Going to Take?

At Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity, we believe every person deserves the opportunity to succeed in work and support themselves and their families—and from our 127-year history of working alongside our participants, we know that putting people at the center of solutions is key to ensuring that programs, systems, and policies work together to end chronic unemployment and poverty. That’s why, over the past year, we’ve spent a lot of time listening to the stories of people within our programs and communities across the country who, by nearly every standard, are doing everything right but still struggle to make ends meet and to reach their full potential because this nation isn’t working for them.

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