Report Spotlights Strategies for Helping Low-Income Workers Succeed

Posted September 7, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Transportation workers

What innovative strategies are helping workers navigate today's changing economy? And, what can philanthropy learn from them?

These are questions that the Annie E. Casey and Joyce foundations asked — and answered — in their jointly funded report, Taking Action.

The nation’s evolving employment landscape is giving rise to a widening — worsening —inequity gap. It’s an economy that increasingly favors workers with a postsecondary education and has seen a rise in jobs with unpredictable hours, low wages and limited benefits. Those already struggling to get by — including black and Latino workers — are overrepresented in entry-level jobs and face the highest hurdles in the changing economy.

Taking Action examines these disparities and highlights strategies aimed at helping lower-paid workers navigate and excel in the changing world of work.

These real-world examples, explored as 12 case studies, fit into three categories: 1) higher education and workforce development strategies that prepare young people for jobs that provide family-sustaining wages; 2) responses to concerns about worker power and agency in the context gig and contract work; and 3) state and local policies that address wages, work and a changing economic environment.

In the opening pages of the report, Casey’s Allison Gerber and the Joyce Foundation’s Sameer Gadkaree acknowledge the chosen case studies fit within a bigger — and more complicated — socio-economic context. “The labor market and education systems, including higher education, remain beset by severe race- and income-based inequities,” they write. “Racial disparities in wealth building also have widened over the past three decades, as have race- and wealth-based gaps in college attainment.”

Yet, Taking Action is a start, say Gerber and Gadkaree. It points to efforts already underway and speaks to the power and incredible promise of positioning low-wage workers to succeed — both now and for generations to come.

Read Taking Action

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