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Strengthening State Systems and Policies to Foster Two-Generation Strategies and Practices

September 1, 2019

This policy brief reports on the first three years of an initiative to work directly with five WPFP state partners in AR, CO, GA, KY, and NC to enhance their state's commitment and ability to serve and support adults and children collectively as well as drive local programs to do so by reviewing the efforts of the five state partners. After first providing more background on Two-Generation efforts across the U.S. in recent years, this brief discusses: 1) the WPFP concept and approach to the initiative; 2) the work of the five state partners, including the state systems identified for this work and specific items identified for improvement within those systems as well as progress to date; and 3) lessons learned and observations of this work with a clear recognition of the challenges and complexities inherent in undertaking systems change work.

Low-Income Working Families: Rising Inequality Despite Economic Recovery

April 16, 2018

This data brief, based on 2016 data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey, provides a national and state-by-state analysis of low-income working families in America. In particular, it highlights: 1) the growing economic divide between working families at the top and bottom of the economic ladder; and 2) the persistenteconomic disparities among working families in different racial/ethnic groups.

Low-Income Working Mothers and State Policy: Investing for a Better Economic Future

February 12, 2014

In 2012, there were more than 10 million low-income working families with children in the United States,and 39 percent were headed by working mothers. The economic conditions for these families have worsened since the onset of the recession; between 2007 and 2012, there was a four percentage-point increase in the share of female-headed working families that are low-income. Addressing challenges specific to these families will increase their economic opportunity, boost the economy and strengthen the fabric of communities across the nation.Public policy can play a critical role in our future prosperity by reversing this trend and improving outcomes for low-income working mothers. Of particular interest is how state governments can best invest in helping working mothers gain the education, skills and supports necessary to become economically secure and provide a strong economic future for their children. In this brief, we highlight the latest data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey and recommend state government policies and actions that would facilitate the economic advancement of female-headed, low-income working families with children under age 18.

State Opportunities for Reconnecting Young Adults to Education, Skills Training and Employment

January 1, 2013

"An alarmingly large number of young adults have disconnected from traditional education or skills training pathways, often without obtaining a basic high school credential. The research is clear: the longer a person is without a high school credential or without the skill training necessary for a family-sustaining wage, the more likely that individual will remain in poverty and be a significant consumer of public welfare and social services" (p.1). In addressing this problem, the brief describes the issue, which millions of out-of-school young adults face and which can lead to negative consequences for them as well as society at large; explains several federally authorized programs that impact the reconnection of young adults to education and training; outlines possible state tools for reconnecting young adults to education and skills training; and provides recommendations for state-level engagement.

Making Performance Funding Work for All

May 22, 2012

Outlines models, design features, and challenges of performance funding, or linking public investment in higher education to institutional outcomes, as a way to address state budget constraints, raise attainment, and strengthen public higher education.

Overlooked and Underpaid: Number of Low-Income Working Families Increases to 10.2 Million

December 16, 2011

Highlights 2007-10 trends in the number and percentage of working families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty line by state and race/ethnicity, as well as the number of children affected. Examines income inequality by quintile and implications.

Strengthening Workplace Education Program Policies to Enable Low-Wage Workers' Advancement

December 2, 2011

Updates the 2007 brief "Strengthening State Policies to Increase the Education and Skills of Low-Wage Workers"; profiles programs that improve basic, literacy, and English language skills; and outlines issues for enhancing state policy and strategy.

2011 State Policy Accomplishments: Workforce Education and Skills Development

November 17, 2011

Highlights progress in states adopting policies designed to increase or target investments for enhancing low-income workers' education and skills, as well as states strengthening policies to promote better credential attainment and employment outcomes.

Improving Access to Apprenticeship: Strengthening State Policies and Practices

August 9, 2011

Describes state efforts to expand the apprenticeship model through outreach, recruitment, and subsidies to strengthen labor market-based education and skills development strategies. Discusses obstacles, lessons learned from states, and recommendations.

Improving Access to Work Supports: Strengthening State Policies and Practices

July 7, 2011

Highlights state and community-based initiatives to improve work support programs and take-up among eligible populations, including by enhancing Web-based tools and bundling supports with services that address broader needs. Makes policy recommendations.

Great Recession Hit Hard at America's Working Poor: Nearly 1 in 3 Working Families in United States Are Low-Income

December 20, 2010

Highlights findings on the 2009 increase in the number of low-income working families and their children, proportion of low-income working families by parents' race/ethnicity, and the growth of income inequality. Discusses policy implications.

Innovations in College Access: Including Adult Learners, Strengthening Student Success

November 20, 2010

Outlines the College Access Challenge Grant Program to fund state strategies for improving college access and boosting low-income students' attainment. Examines how states have used the grants so far and suggests including adult learning initiatives.