By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
Employment in quality jobs is key to preventing and ending homelessness—yet millions of homeless jobseekers face significant barriers to employment success. Fortunately, there’s growing awareness and accountability in the homeless services system around increasing employment and economic opportunity for people experiencing homelessness. At the same time, under the recently passed Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), the public workforce system aims to increase employment opportunities for jobseekers facing barriers, including homeless jobseekers. There’s clearly a shared goal here—and WIOA implementation offers a unique opportunity for these systems to work together: WIOA and HUD combined state planning.
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…
Exploring a New Resource: A Paper Released Today from the Council of State Governments Justice Center Offers “Integrated Reentry and Employment Strategies”
By Caitlin C. Schnur, Workforce Research and Policy Fellow, National Transitional Jobs Network
and Jonathan Philipp, Research and Policy Assistant, National Transitional Jobs Network
Each year, more than 650,000 individuals return to their communities from prison while millions more return home from jail. With overflowing correctional facilities and crunched state budgets, criminal justice policymakers and practitioners are increasingly working to ensure that returning citizens are not reincarcerated following their release. As a part of these successful reentry efforts, securing employment for formerly incarcerated individuals is critical—not only do returning citizens need immediate income to meet their basic needs, but incarcerated individuals who have been asked about their post-release plans report that being employed is crucial to their ability to stay crime-free. Despite wanting or needing to work, returning citizens face numerous barriers to employment including limited work histories, low educational attainment, and parole-mandated curfews or mobility restrictions. It’s not surprising, then, that employment providers who are focused on serving the chronically unemployed consistently serve large numbers of individuals with criminal records. Read More…