JOBS & EDUCATION
Building an inclusive economy that works for everyone requires increasing worker agency and power. We offer policy ideas to create good jobs, improve job quality, and expand access to education and training.
Subsidized employment programs are engines for economic opportunity, stronger labor markets, and healthier communities. This blog highlights select evidence demonstrating that subsidized employment is good for workers and employers and can help create a strong, inclusive economy.
Subsidized employment is an engine for economic opportunity, stronger labor markets, and healthier communities. It can mitigate structural barriers to work, such as racial discrimination in the labor market, and be adapted and scaled to meet specific worker, employer, and community needs. This report reviews a half-century of evidence on subsidized employment’s power to increase employment and incomes, reduce poverty, and ensure a more inclusive economy for everyone. It is the second edition of a 2016 report, “Lessons Learned from 40 Years of Subsidized Employment Programs.”
Nearly 15 million people in the U.S. who would like to work are unable to find a job—despite a historically low national unemployment rate. This blog, published in partnership with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, highlights one policy tool that would help create jobs and boost earnings for people in disinvested neighborhoods and communities: subsidized employment. A half-century’s worth of evidence suggests that a large-scale subsidized jobs program would help ensure the communities typically left behind in periods of economic growth can share in the nation’s economic security and opportunity.
Over the past three decades, segregation across groups of majors, or fields of study, between women of color and White men has increased. This segregation threatens equal opportunity and contributes to a segregated workforce — which negatively impacts wages, job security and career mobility for millions of workers, especially women and Black and Brown people. Even as topline statistics on diversity in overall enrollment improve, higher education institutions shouldn’t miss critical opportunities to ensure that women and students of color are aware of, feel welcome in, and can participate in all fields of study.
Each year, millions of parents across the U.S seek to help their children pay for higher education using the only source of federal financial aid for parents: the Parent PLUS loan program. Despite offering an additional college financing option, Parent PLUS disproportionately distributes unrepayable debt by income level, race and ethnicity, geography, and higher education sector, burdening low-income parents with immense debt. This chartbook examines key features of Parent PLUS loan borrower experiences, finding that Parent PLUS burdens parents and students from low-income households, Black families, and students attending postsecondary institutions in the South. Understanding this uneven distribution of Parent PLUS debt is vital in order for policymakers, postsecondary administrators, and advocates to redesign the program and develop a more equitable higher education financing system for parents and students.
Predominantly white institutions (PWIs) educate about 70% of all bachelor’s degree graduates and about half of all students of color. Students at PWIs tend to be segregated across fields of study, with women and people of color overrepresented in majors that lead to lower-paying occupations. Administrators at PWIs have a major opportunity to interrupt this segregation and promote inclusion and success of students of color in postsecondary education. This brief offers six key recommendations that administrators at PWIs can implement to reduce field of study segregation and shape a more equitable and dynamic future workforce.
A four-year postsecondary degree offers opportunities for a higher income and upward economic mobility. However, postsecondary education—historically inaccessible to people of color and women—also plays a key role in reproducing and amplifying societal inequities by sorting students into specialized fields of study by race and gender, contributing to a segregated labor force. This report examines the link between postsecondary field of study and labor market segregation using an original quantitative analysis. This report presents four principles and corresponding recommendations that postsecondary institutions and policymakers can use to reduce racial and gender segregation across fields of study, increase degree attainment, and ultimately, ameliorate labor market segregation.
Market power and corporate consolidation have increased in recent decades, concentrating economic and political power among fewer corporations across the country. This report examines the implications of market power in the agricultural sector–particularly in crop production, animal production, and animal slaughtering. Market power, deeply intertwined with economic inequality and structural racism, contributes to low pay, dangerous working conditions, and other harms to workers of color.
Market power exists when one or more companies can profitably set prices for goods, services, and wages; and determine the quality, accessibility, and availability of goods and services. Market power, intertwined with deeply entrenched structural racism and class inequality, can have life-or-death consequences. This report explores the real-world impact of market power on the lives of people of color and people with low incomes–as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs–their communities, and society at large. The research shows that market power contributes to economic insecurity and hardship in low-income communities and communities of color, including by driving down wages and benefits; limiting and controlling the availability of goods, services, and jobs; and undermining American prosperity and democracy.
Eighteen months after the largest job losses in U.S. history, unemployment is still high as workers, particularly Black and Hispanic workers, continue to struggle. While some indicators suggest the economy continues to recover, that recovery is uneven and fragile. America urgently needs a solution that supports workers, employers and communities alike, without leaving anyone behind. One proven and adaptable strategy that policymakers at all levels of government can mobilize now is subsidized employment.