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Latest Publications from WPFP

Improving Job Quality for the Direct Care Workforce: A Review of State Policy Strategies

Direct care workers provide much of the hands-on, long-term care received by older adults and people with disabilities in the U.S. Despite being a lifeline for the people they serve and their families, direct care workers are among the lowest paid workers in the country. They often work with minimal benefits, little access to training, and few opportunities for advancement. Improving the job quality for the professionals in this field should be a goal of all policymakers seeking to strengthen economic opportunities for the working poor. State governments are uniquely positioned to tackle this issue and promote such policies.

This new report examines opportunities and levers for states to enhance the wages, benefits, and other conditions affecting jobs in the direct care workforce. These policies can benefit direct care workers and their families, as well as enhance the quality of care provided older adults and people with disabilities across the country.

Read the Brief (PDF)

Improving Job Quality for the Early Childhood Workforce

Early care and education (ECE) professionals are among the lowest paid workers in the U.S. economy. On average, they are paid only slightly more than cashiers and dishwashers, slightly less than coat and locker room attendants, and less than half of what kindergarten teachers earn despite working full-time year-round. Nearly half of the workers that the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies as “child care workers” enroll in some form of public assistance for themselves or their families, such as Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and many are eligible for child care subsidies themselves. Nationwide, almost two million workers are paid to work in the ECE economy. Women comprise the vast majority, and people of color are disproportionately represented in the ECE workforce. Most ECE workers are parents themselves, and more than 60 percent of the ECE workforce is employed full-time.

This new report examines opportunities and levers for states to enhance the skills and working conditions for the early care and education workforce. These policies benefit ECE workers and their families, as well as supporting improvements in the quality of education of the children in their care.

Read the Brief (PDF)


Strengthening State Policies for Working Families

Millions of American breadwinners work hard to support their families. But, despite their effort, almost one in three working families are mired in low-wage jobs that provide inadequate benefits and offer little opportunity for advancement and economic security. Compounding the problem are public policies that do not adequately prepare workers to advance to higher-skilled, higher-paying jobs or promote the creation of quality jobs.

The Working Poor Families Project (WPFP) was launched in 2002 by national philanthropic leaders who saw the need to strengthen state policies affecting these working families. This national initiative is now supported by the Annie E. Casey, Joyce and W.K. Kellogg foundations. WPFP focuses on the states because their policies and investments critically affect the lives of working families.

The WPFP is active in 22 states and the District of Columbia. In each state the WPFP partners with one or more nonprofit organizations to strengthen state policies to better prepare America's working families for a more secure economic future.

Featured Publication from a WPFP State Partner

The Texas GED Problem is Getting Worse (Jan 2018)

Download the report (pdf)