Tag Archive | youth

The Opening Doors Collaborative Aims to Increase Employment & Economic Opportunity Among Homeless Youth

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity with Leiha Edmonds, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives

2015-09-21 - Heading Home Hennepin_Via Heidi Boyd
Earlier this year, under our new National Center on Employment and Homelessness (NCEH) and with the generous support of the Oak Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust, we selected five communities from across the country to be a part of the Connections Project. The Connections Project is a three-year, systems-level collaboration and capacity building project that aims to increase employment and economic opportunity for homeless job seekers. This fall, our five Connections Project Sites are launching their innovative systems collaboration ideas—and over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting their exciting work. First up is Minneapolis/Hennepin County’s Opening Doors Collaborative (ODC), our Connections Project Site that’s focused on improving employment access, outcomes, and program options for youth experiencing homelessness.

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“I Believed in My Vision:” TransTech Empowers, Educates, & Employs the Trans Community

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Miss Ross Try 2

Angelica Ross, the founder of TransTech in Chicago, calls herself an accidental advocate. “I got into this work as an advocate for myself,” explains Miss Ross, a transwoman of color whose year-old social enterprise prepares trans people for careers in creative design and technology. “When I was younger, I was really just trying to get by and work a job. None of the LGBTQ organizations that were focused on marriage were advocating for what I needed—safe and stable employment opportunities.”

While the transgender movement may have reached a tipping point, there’s still a lot of work to be done around advancing employment and economic opportunity for the trans community. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, trans people experience twice the rate of unemployment and are nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty than the general population. By empowering, educating, and employing trans people—and especially trans youth—TransTech addresses these issues head on. For LGBT Pride Month, National Initiatives chatted with Miss Ross about her vision for TransTech, why social capital is key to economic empowerment, and employment as restorative justice.

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Summer Jobs for Youth Reduce Violent Crime

By David T. Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

 SGA

It turns out that having a summer job can reduce violent crime among young people from highly disadvantaged neighborhoods—even more than a year after the summer job has ended. During the summer of 2012, Chicago’s One Summer Plus program offered eight weeks of subsidized, part-time summer employment, an adult job mentor, and—in some cases—a social emotional learning curriculum to youth with barriers to employment. An experimental study evaluating One Summer Plus found that over the next 16 months, violent crime arrests among youth who were offered summer jobs decreased by 43 percent compared to youth who weren’t.

By helping to implement One Summer Plus, SGA Youth & Family Services (SGA) has been central to Chicago’s efforts to curb violence and increase summer employment opportunities for the city’s vulnerable youth. SGA works in over forty communities across Chicago and offers a wide variety of services ranging from operating community health clinics to educational support and, of course, youth employment opportunities.

The National Initiatives team spoke with Jamie Roth, SGA’s Director of Workforce Development, to discuss the organization’s role in One Summer Plus and its broader work to combat poverty and bring hope and change to local communities across Chicago.

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To Be Smart on Crime, We Need To Be Smart on Employment

By Caitlin C. Schnur, Coordinator, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

Photo via The Wall Street Journal

Photo via The Wall Street Journal

With the recently-launched Coalition for Public Safety and increasing congressional chatter about prison reform, making the nation’s criminal justice system smarter, fairer, and more cost effective is a rising priority—and it should be. The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Our country has only five percent of the world’s population but one quarter of its prisoners, and a disproportionate percentage of those prisoners are men of color. Many of these prisoners will return to their communities. In 2010, about 10 percent of nonincarcerated men—and 25 percent of nonincarcerated black men—had a felony conviction. At the same time, our prison system has a revolving door: more than half of returning citizens will be imprisoned again within five years.

Mass incarceration inflicts a high cost on taxpayers, communities, and families alike. We need strategies that will help prevent criminal justice system involvement and reduce reincarceration—and the research continues to demonstrate that access to employment and education can do just that. Here’s why and how efforts to reform the criminal justice system should leverage employment strategies to counter mass incarceration and reduce recidivism.

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Five Good Ideas to Combat Poverty in America

By David T. Applegate, Research and Policy Assistant, National Initiatives on Poverty & Economic Opportunity

AmyR_Edited

With midterm elections only a few weeks away, politicians are busy on the campaign trail talking to millions of Americans about our nation’s challenges and their plans for how to address them effectively. As candidates frame the issues, debate ideas, and seek to draw voters to the polls, we believe there’s one pressing issue that deserves to be on the top of the agenda: poverty.

The most recent poverty data show that 14.5 percent of Americans, or 45.3 million people, live in poverty. Nearly 20 million Americans are considered extremely poor which, for a family of three, means living on less than about $9,000 per year. Digging deeper into these numbers, nearly one in five children lives in poverty and as many as 6.5 million children live in families that are extremely poor. Hispanics and African-Americans represent 30 percent of the total population, but 52.5 percent of the population living in poverty.

We believe that every person deserves the opportunity to support themselves and their families and that no one should live in poverty. As we enter the final weeks of the 2014 election season, we have five anti-poverty strategies that we’d like to see candidates talking about—and taking action on once they’re in office.

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