Since its inception, The Working Poor Families Project has focused on state workforce development policies involving:
- Education and skills training for adults;
- Economic development;
- Income and work supports.
For 20 years, the WPFP supported state nonprofit groups, engaging them in a two-part, phased process beginning with an in-depth assessment of the economic conditions and state policies affecting working families and followed by actions to strengthen those conditions and policies. A unique feature of the Project included the annual analysis of U.S. Census data to identify the number and conditions of low-income working families in the country and in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In both 2004 and 2008, the WPFP produced major reports highlighting the challenges faced by working low-income families. In addition, policy briefs with updated data were released in 2010-2014, with the last analysis brief released in 2018: Low-Income Working Families: Rising Inequality Despite Economic Recovery. All reports can be found on the Reports & Publications page. The assessment also used a Framework of Indicators provided by the WPFP to examine current economic conditions and related state policies and programs. This examination culminated in a State Policy Assessment Report pointing out where a state’s investments and policies stand in relation to other states and the nation. Most importantly, the report recommends actions for improving state policies and program operations. Following the release of the state report, WPFP groups engaged in educating key stakeholders on the opportunities to improve state systems and policies. Each group developed a policy agenda and worked to implement that agenda with other stakeholders such as community-based organizations, state and local nonprofit groups, associations of education providers, employers, and state agencies. As a result of their involvement in WPFP, the state nonprofits have:
- Contributed to the strengthening of state policies and practices;
- Increased and sustained state funds that support the goals of the WPFP; and
- Increased their organizational capacity and built important new relationships.
Despite these significant achievements, the goal of economic self-sufficiency remains an elusive dream for far too many working families.