Connections Project Draws Teams of Innovators to D.C. to Advance Employment Solutions to Homelessness
By Carl Wiley, Coordinator, National Center on Employment and Homelessness (NCEH)
At the beginning of April, and with the generous support of the Oak Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust, Heartland Alliance’s National Initiatives team and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) co-hosted the Working to End Homelessness (WEH) Innovation Workshop in Washington, D.C. Our event brought together 10 Connections Project Finalist Teams from communities all across the country as they built partnerships and fine-tuned innovative ideas to connect homeless jobseekers to employment and greater economic opportunity. The Connections Project is a three year, place-based, systems-level collaboration and capacity-building project that aims to increase employment and economic opportunity for homeless jobseekers. The Workshop was energizing and constructive—and here’s a look at the highlights and takeaways.
Innovations in Child Support Policy: 3 Ways to Increase Employment + Economic Opportunity for Noncustodial Parents
By James Jones, B.MORE Initiative Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
In 1995, President William “Bill” Clinton proclaimed August National Child Support Awareness Month. The goal was to raise awareness about the critical role child support plays in the lives of millions of American children. Clinton was responding to a social problem that appeared to be on the rise. In the mid-nineties, there was a growing percentage of single parent households in America and children in those households had a high chance of suffering from poverty. Today, almost two decades later, the child support program serves half of all poor children in the country and 17 million children in total.
While many noncustodial parents want to be involved with their children, many also live in poverty and lack the resources to financially provide for their children. Most unpaid child support is owed by these parents and for many the lack of steady income is a major barrier to fulfilling parental obligations. At the same time, child support payments represent a significant portion of the income of families living in poverty. Oftentimes, these payments are responsible for keeping children out of extreme poverty.
The National Initiatives on Poverty and Economic Opportunity team is focused on developing and expanding sustainable policy solutions that benefit children and increase employment and economic opportunities for low-income noncustodial parents. To that end, this July we led a strategic policy/advocacy planning and campaign development summit with our partners at Connections to Success (CtS) in Missouri and Kansas. Working with Connections’ leadership and program staff, we equipped them to identify and advance child support policies in Missouri that could better support low-income, noncustodial fathers’ efforts to access employment opportunities, support their children, and advance in the labor market. Drawing from our training with CtS, in this blog we’re highlighting three child support policy innovations that would increase employment and economic opportunity for low-income parents.
By Caitlin C. Schnur, Workforce Research & Policy Fellow, NTJN
In the National Transitional Jobs Network’s (NTJN) recent article in the Institute for Children, Poverty & Homelessness‘ UNCENSORED magazine, we showed why employment is critical to ending family homelessness and gave homeless service providers recommendations for integrating employment strategies into their programming. We know, however, that many homeless service providers already offer consumers quality employment services and believe that employment has an important role to play in ending homelessness—so, what’s next? Here, we shift the focus from building better programs to building systems that prioritize employment as a pathway out of homelessness and are well-equipped to serve homeless job seekers. If you’re a service provider looking to channel your experience and expertise toward ensuring that more homeless job seekers have access to employment and economic opportunity, this blog offers four actionable strategies to jumpstart your advocacy work. Ready? Go! Read More…
By Caitlin Schnur, Workforce Research and Policy Fellow, NTJN
and Jonathan Philipp, Research and Policy Assistant, NTJN
At the National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN), we believe that every person deserves the opportunity to work and support themselves and their families. Throughout the year, we strive to open doors to work for chronically unemployed Americans—and your membership is a critical investment in our efforts to ensure that everyone who wants to work can find a job, including people with barriers to employment. With your membership support, the NTJN can continue to advance and bolster policies and employment programs that help jobseekers facing barriers to employment find work and advance in the labor market. Our members also receive publicity to help raise your organization’s visibility and reduced rates on program assistance from our team of experts! Read on to discover some of the benefits that will come your way as a 2014 NTJN member. And then join us! Together, we can get #AmericaBack2Work.