By Melissa Young, Director, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity & Chris Warland, Associate Director for Field Building, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity
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.
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.