Thursday, January 27, 2011

Plight of the Working Poor -- the Fastest Growing Class in America

Quote from The Working Poor: Invisible in America by David K. Shipler:

"Most of the people I write about in this book do not have the luxury of rage. They are caught in exhausting struggles. Their wages do not lift them far enough from poverty to improve their lives, and their lives, in turn, hold them back. The term by which they are described, 'working poor,' should be an oxymoron. Nobody who works hard should be poor in America."

Did you know that:
The Winter 2010-2011 Working Poor Families Project Policy Brief revealed:
  • Over 10 million low-income working families in the United States, an increase of nearly a quarter million from the previous year.
  • 45 million people, including 22 million children, lived in low-income working families, an increase of 1.7 million people from 2008.
  • 43 percent of working families with at least one minority parent were low income, nearly twice the proportion of white working families (22 percent).
  • Income inequality continues to grow with the richest 20 percent of working families taking home 47 percent of all income and earning 10 times that of low-income working families.
  • Over than half of the U.S. labor force (55 percent) has “suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers” since the recession began in December 2007.
Quote from Half in Ten, a national campaign: “Call it a war on poverty, call it expanding the middle class, call it promoting economic security. Call it whatever you want, but start making the connections between the plight of middle-class and lower-income Americans, and get involved.”

Federal Reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act

On December 20, President Obama signed the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which funds services to protect children from abuse and neglect. CAPTA also includes the Adoption Opportunities Program, and this year the Act strengthens this program.

The Department of Health and Human Services is now required to spend 30 to 50 percent of Adoption Opportunities Program funding on key areas such as post-adoption support and recruitment efforts for older children, children of color, and children with special needs.

Counting the Invisible Men

Counting the Invisible Man: Black Males and the 2010 Census (2011), published by the Twenty-First Century Foundation and Frontline Solutions, is research brief that outlines:

  • The efforts of four communities to increase the participation and counting of African American males in the 2010 Census
  • Potential strategies to utilize in 2020

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State of Homelessness in America

The National Alliance to End Homelessness recently released a report, The State of Homelessness in America, indicating that:
  • Homelessness is on the rise
  • Youth aging out of foster care are among the four populations most likely to go without shelter
  • In the course of a year, the estimated odds of experiencing homelessness for a young adult who ages out of foster care are 1 in 6

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Our Federal Tax Dollars Are Spent

Source: Center of Budget and Policy Priorities.

Youth Unemployment: An International Problem

Young people have borne much of the brunt of job losses during the recent global downturn.

Coping with unemployment is difficult for anyone. But for disadvantaged youth lacking basic education, failure to find a first job or keep it for long can have negative long-term consequences on their career prospects -- what some experts refer to as “scarring.”

From 2006 to 2010, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reviewed the youth labor markets in 16 countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Summary and Main Recommendations for the United States is available at:

Three key points, when it comes to the United States:
  • At-risk youth are often left behind  when it comes to school-to-work transitions
  • These youth often remain disconnected from the workforce for many years
  • Labor market programs that target the needs of disconnected youth are underfunded
Approximately five million young adults in the United States are “disconnected youth;" defined by WIA as low-income youth who face one or multiple challenges to employment or learning.

Quote from OECD report: "Not only are the vast majority of youth currently in this at-risk group not receiving the support they need to reconnect to education and the labour market, but their number is likely to increase significantly in the wake of the current economic crisis if urgent action is not taken."

OECD Recommendations include: 
  • Holding high schools accountable for the workforce and college readiness of their students
  • Promoting the use of apprenticeships for teenagers (for example, in Michigan's School-to-Registered Apprenticeship Program)
  • Encouraging small employers in rural areas to join together and train youth apprentices