Headlines abound with “the future of work” and all the promise, challenges, excitement, fear and uncertainty working people feel about what will happen to their jobs and their ability to earn a living in the next decade and beyond. Many who write on this topic view today’s economic transformation as on par with previous economic disruptions such as the Industrial Revolution.
This brief outlines five primary policy areas that frame an array of issues and problems advocates and policymakers should examine as they contemplate the future of work, particularly for low-income workers.
As implementation of the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) gets underway, states have the opportunity to make significant policy decisions that will guide implementation at the state and local level. Given that WIOA provides explicit priority to serving “recipients of public assistance, other low-income individuals, and individuals who are basic skills deficient,” it is important that states establish policies and provide guidance to ensure that resources are allocated and services are delivered in accordance with this legislative priority and that appropriate attention is given to increasing the education and skills of low-income workers.
This new policy brief from the Working Poor Families Project identifies 10 key WIOA policy areas where states can ensure that resource allocations, implementation efforts, performance outcomes, and other activities under WIOA are effectively addressing the needs of working poor 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, Ford, Joyce and Kresge 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.
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Download the report (pdf)