By Indivar Dutta-Gupta & Kali Grant, Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality
The job market continues to bounce back from the economic downturn, but Americans’ feelings about job opportunities remain the same. Despite months or even years searching for jobs, two million Americans—more than a quarter of all unemployed workers—are long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been searching for work for six months or longer. Unemployment is in no uncertain terms a waste of economic and human potential in our communities, demanding attention from philanthropists, advocates, service providers, and policymakers alike. Subsidized employment is a proven, promising, and underutilized approach to solving this problem.
By David T. Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
In July 2013, the Colorado state legislature passed the Colorado Careers Act (HB13-1004) establishing ReHire Colorado – an innovative and forward-thinking transitional employment program to be administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services. Using transitional jobs as the central mechanism, ReHire aims to stimulate the local economy and address unemployment by putting unemployed Coloradans back on the path to work with wage paid work with local employers. In order to implement the program, the state awarded contracts to five local service providers – one being the Larimer County Workforce Center in Northern Colorado.
The Workforce Center serves both jobseekers and businesses through an array of training, educational, and internship programs. Adam Crowe, the Business Development Manager at the Workforce Center, reminds us that “work is such a key component of who we are as humans that I think it is easy to forget about at times.”
Recently, the NTJN had the chance to talk with Adam about the Workforce Center’s success in using transitional employment and strong relationships with employer partners in attacking poverty and unemployment in Northern Colorado.
By James Jones, B.MORE Initiative Coordinator, NTJN
“Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who constantly push us toward it.” – President Barack Obama (Father’s Day 2008)
This Father’s Day, we reflected on the selfless efforts of dads all across the country. Fathers play a unique and important role in the lives of their children, spouses, and co-parents. That role, however, can be undermined by stereotypes that relegate the breadth of a father’s contributions solely to provider or family breadwinner—stereotypes that have helped drive policies that marginalize low-income men who are unable to financially support their children and families.
In particular, low-income, noncustodial African American men are often depicted as dead beat dads—a negative narrative that is not supported by any empirical evidence. The reality is that low-income African American men are often penalized by a web of child support policies and enforcement practices that were designed to collect revenue from noncustodial parents who were financially able, yet sometimes unwilling, to help support their families. The impact of these “one-size-fits-all” policies is that families at the lowest end of the income spectrum tend to suffer severely.
In keeping with states like Missouri, Kansas, Indiana, Wisconsin and others, we encourage state child support enforcement agencies and entities serving low-income noncustodial fathers to implement innovative policies that help fathers meet their obligations while meeting their own basic needs, and help lift families out of poverty by helping parents succeed in employment. This blog takes a longer look at states that are doing just that—and provides policy recommendations that we hope will help spur innovation in a greater number of states. Read More…
The National Transitional Jobs Network and ACCESS Discuss Michigan Earn + Learn’s Visit to Washington, D.C.
Interview transcribed by Caitlin Schnur, Workforce Policy and Research Fellow, National Transitional Jobs Network
On September 19, the Earn + Learn Southeast Michigan region’s Participant Advisory Council (PAC) boarded a plane headed to Washington, D.C. With the support of a travel scholarship from the National Transitional Jobs Network (NTJN), and with the NTJN’s D.C.-savvy Melissa Young to guide the way, the PAC members had an eventful and exciting week in D.C. that included a day-long visit to the Hill to talk to members of Congress about just how important it is for them to champion Transitional Jobs programs like Michigan Earn + Learn.
Launched in 2011, Michigan Earn + Learn is a statewide initiative that helps low-income, at-risk individuals who are disconnected from employment and education, including many young minority males; returning citizens; and chronically unemployed individuals reenter and succeed in the labor market. Earn + Learn participants gain work experience (and earn a paycheck!) via a Transitional Job while also pursuing education or job training to help them advance in the workplace.
Melissa Young, the NTJN’s Associate Director, and Rabih Bazzi, a job developer at one of Earn + Learn’s partner organizations, ACCESS, spoke about their experience in D.C. and the importance of having constituents speak directly to their elected officials. Read More…