JOBS & EDUCATION
Real progress toward expanding economic opportunity and security requires a deep understanding of strategies for job creation, improving job quality, and preparing disadvantaged workers for the labor force. Our work on employment and education issues offers new frameworks, research-based insights, and tangible policy solutions.
Unrepayable Debt: How Economic, Racial, & Geographic Inequality Shape the Distribution of Parent PLUS Loans
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.
From Exclusion to Opportunity: The Role of Postsecondary Education in Labor Force Segregation & Recommendations for Action
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.
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.
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.
Concentrated Power, Concentrated Harm: Market Power’s Role in Creating & Amplifying Racial & Economic Inequality
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.
The COVID-19 public health and economic crisis made employment more scarce and exacerbated long-standing challenges—like access to quality child care—for millions of workers, particularly workers who are Black and Brown. This brief, published in partnership with Community Advocates Public Policy Institute, shares the success story of Milwaukee’s New Hope Project—a program with a package of work-based supports that included subsidized jobs, earnings supplements, affordable health care, and child care. New Hope provides a blueprint for creating holistic, work-based approaches that significantly improve employment and family outcomes for participants and their communities, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Building the Caring Economy: Workforce Investments to Expand Access to Affordable, High-Quality Early & Long-Term Care
High-quality caregiving, including child care and long-term services and supports, is essential but out of reach for too many families. At the same time, care workers—who are disproportionately women of color—face poor job quality, low pay, and inadequate benefits, which undermines access to quality care. This brief offers recommendations for caregiving investments that promote the well-being of children, older adults, people with disabilities, and their families by creating and sustaining good jobs in the caregiving sector.
Obstacles to Opportunity: Increasing College Success by Understanding & Addressing Older Students’ Costs Beyond Tuition
Higher education offers millions of people the opportunity to improve their financial well-being. However, higher education is prohibitively expensive and can saddle people with insurmountable debt. Costs beyond tuition—such as housing, food, child care, and transportation—are large, essential components of the cost of attending college for students. In order to better understand how these living costs add up and vary, this report offers estimates of costs beyond tuition for older students between the ages of 25 – 45, who make up roughly one-third of college students and face unique barriers to college access and completion. The report shows that the real cost of college for older students is higher than commonly understood, examines older students’ challenges with financial aid and public benefits programs, and offers policy recommendations to address costs beyond tuition and improve college access and success for older students.
Strengthening Young Adult Opportunity in the Federal Workforce: An Executive Order on Recruitment, Hiring, Retention, & Advancement
The COVID-19 pandemic and recession have intensified young adult unemployment and disconnection, increasing young people’s need for good job opportunities. The federal government urgently needs to address both the aging of its workforce and racial and gender inequity, particularly in senior positions, and hiring more young people can strengthen the diversity of the pipeline. This memo recommends an equity-focused executive order—centering communities of color and high-poverty communities—to increase young adult recruitment, hiring, retention, and advancement in federal government jobs.
Subsidized employment programs—programs that use public funds to create temporary job opportunities—have positive impacts on employment and earnings for people facing barriers to employment. This workbook provides a detailed look at dozens of federal and state subsidized employment programs spanning over half a century, synthesizes evaluation data, and offers a resource for policymakers and advocates interested in subsidized employment as an equity-advancing response to unemployment.
No Choice: The Implications of Unmet Child Care Needs For Unemployment Assistance & Paid Leave Access During The COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the clear need for child care, paid leave, and unemployment assistance, but many state and federal unemployment assistance and paid leave programs fail to account for the child care needs of working families. For many parents of dependent children, widespread closure of child care and in-person school made searching for work and securing and retaining formal employment nearly impossible. This brief describes how unmet child care needs intersect with and can be mitigated by state and federal unemployment assistance and paid leave programs, and provides policy recommendations to address the care crisis in the short-run and beyond. An accompanying workbook chronicles and analyzes state-by-state policies on the availability of wage replacements for workers without child care.
COVID-19 response legislation greatly strengthened and expanded the dollar amount, duration, and coverage of unemployment assistance. These changes have prompted questions about the implications for workers receiving disability benefits. This brief discusses and clarifies the interactions between disability benefits and unemployment assistance. It is published jointly with Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan, The Arc, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, The Century Foundation, and The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities.
Sheila Naughton, Kali Grant Michael Evangelist, & Patrick Cooney
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, essential workers have supported the well-being of our communities and the economy, but inconsistencies in federal, state, and local essential worker policies have limited some workers’ access to paid sick days, greater compensation, and other benefits. This brief, published jointly with the Workers’ Rights Institute, provides an inclusive definition of essential workers, and finds that women, people of color, and immigrants are over-represented in the essential workforce and face increased risks related to COVID-19.
For many students, the real cost of college is even higher than commonly understood. Although rising tuition costs limit college affordability, living costs—such as housing, food, and transportation—are equally essential for students striving to afford and complete college. This report examines older students’ particular challenges to college completion, describes how current measurements of costs beyond tuition do not adequately reflect older students’ experiences, and offers new estimates of older students’ spending on housing, which is typically the single greatest cost older students face.
As unemployment soars, a substantial share of unemployed jobseekers—including new entrants, such as many students completing school—are excluded from the regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) system and new emergency unemployment programs. This brief argues that a Jobseeker’s Allowance could fill gaps in the UI system and help workers, families, and the economy by providing cash and employment supports for jobseekers left out of UI. The brief is jointly published with Employ America, the Economic Policy Institute, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Employment Law Project, and the Century Foundation.
Considerations for Child Care Providers & Workers Navigating Financial Support Options During the COVID-19 Crisis
Child care providers have been hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis and are facing tough decisions about how to do what’s best for the families they serve, their own families, their workers, and their businesses. This fact sheet, published jointly with the National Women’s Law Center, outlines financial supports available to help cover providers’ business expenses and to help workers who face layoffs or reduced hours.
The novel coronavirus has brought sudden attention to the important role unemployment insurance (UI) system plays in quickly delivering aid to families and stimulus to the economy. This fact sheet, published jointly with The Century Foundation, the Economic Policy Institute, National Employment Law Project, and the National Women’s Law Center, emphasizes the importance of focusing both on immediate changes to help individuals and sustained, structural fixes to fully respond to a crisis of this magnitude and gird the nation for the challenges of a recession and future economic crises.
Unemployment insurance provides temporary support to unemployed workers who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. This fact sheet, published jointly with the National Women’s Law Center, National Employment Law Project, and Center for American Progress, shows the importance of unemployment insurance for women and families and suggests changes that would improve the program’s effectiveness for women, their families, and the economy as a whole.
Subsidized employment is a proven strategy for creating more equitable and accessible pathways to stable employment for all—especially people facing serious barriers to employment. Subsidized employment programs can increase incomes and employment, reduce involvement with the criminal justice system, improve the psychological well-being of participants and their families, and reduce long-term poverty. This resource, published jointly with the Heartland Alliance, illustrates the wide reach and versatility of subsidized employment programs by highlighting the broad range of occupations available to program participants.
This joint report with the National Youth Employment Coalition highlights state and local solutions to improve education and income-earning outcomes for undocumented youth. These solutions can be advanced by elected officials, policymakers, advocates, nonprofits, foundations, and education leaders across the United States. This project is a part of GCPI’s broader policy development work on the Youth Opportunity Guarantee, which would ensure access to education and employment for all young people in the United States.
Jobs are at the heart of our nation’s debates around poverty and economic security. In this joint report from the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality and the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University, we find that a comprehensive subsidized employment program would reach millions of U.S. workers left behind in today’s economy, reducing the poverty rate among participants by nearly half.
This report introduces a Youth Opportunity Guarantee of education, training, and employment for all youth ages 16 to 24 in the United States. After years of extensive research and consultation with well over 100 experts and stakeholders, GCPI has created a framework that integrates secondary, postsecondary, and employment systems to make long-term labor market success a reality for all youth in the United States.
GCPI and the Vera Institute of Justice make the case for how lifting the current ban on awarding Pell Grants to incarcerated people would benefit workers, employers, and states. Specifically, it analyzes the potential employment and earnings impact of postsecondary education programs in prison; identifies the millions of job openings annually that require the skills a person in prison could acquire through postsecondary education and estimates the money states would save through lower recidivism rates these postsecondary education programs would yield.
Security & Stability: Paid Family and Medical Leave and its Importance to People with Disabilities and their Families
The Arc and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality are excited to release a new report, “Security and Stability: The Importance of Paid Family and Medical Leave to People with Disabilities and their Families.” The need for paid leave is universal and well documented. Our report is the first to contribute an overview of the disability angle on paid leave.
Building the Caring Economy: Workforce Investments to Expand Access to Affordable, High-Quality and Long-Term Care
This report proposes caregiving jobs investments to address two national needs: the pressing need for caregiving; and the equally pressing need for good jobs.
The Leadership Conference Education Fund and the Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality released “Bare Minimum: Why We Need to Raise Wages for America’s Lowest-Paid Families,” a report on working people and their struggle to make a living when paid the federal minimum wage or tips. The report makes a case for raising wages that is grounded in history, economics, and movements across the country, but particularly in the lived experience of our nation’s lowest-paid working people.
Raising the minimum wage, improving wage theft protections, and eliminating the tipped minimum wage can help ensure workers’ receive their legally owed earnings and improve their economic security.
Raising the minimum wage and eliminating the tipped minimum wage would empower workers to report and address sexual harassment in the workforce and would be especially beneficial to women.
Eliminating the tipped minimum wage would help redress the racial and gender iniquities that are rooted in the racist origins of the tipped minimum wage and that still exist today.
The Tipped Minimum Wage Hasn’t Budged in 25 Years. That’s a Problem.
Read the center’s blog written in partnership with The Leadership Conference Education Fund on the 25th anniversary of the tipped minimum wage.
Raising Wages, Reducing Inequality, Sustaining Families: Why raising the minimum wage is a civil and human rights issue
The Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality along with the Leadership Conference published this report on how raising the minimum wage is essential for civil and human rights.
The Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality and the Leadership Conference Education Fund released this report which advocates for the raising of the minimum wage.
We partnered with some of the country’s leading experts to develop a proposal for the first permanent national subsidized jobs program. Read more in the latest The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences.
A national subsidized employment program with dedicated and flexible funding streams could lead to further-reaching gains for the well-being of participating workers and their families, employers, and communities. This brief is based on the article, “Working to Reduce Poverty: A National Subsidized Employment Proposal”, a detailed policy proposal for a permanent, national subsidized employment program.
A framework, review of models, and recommendations for helping disadvantaged workers. Featured in The Atlantic article, “The Case for a New WPA,” the center’s report presents the most extensive review to date of subsidized employment programs and models spanning four decades that target populations with serious or multiple barriers to employment in the United States.
Taking on Chronic Unemployment: Lessons Learned From 40 Years of Subsidized Employment Programs
GCPI, the National Employment Law Project (NELP), and the Heartland Alliance held a webinar on how states can explore adopting and innovating subsidized employment programs as a promising strategy for helping long-term and chronically unemployed workers succeed in the labor market.
In partnership with the Center for American Progress (CAP) and National Employment Law Project (NELP), the center released a report on modernizing unemployment insurance for a 21st century economy and establishing a new Jobseeker’s Allowance.
This document succinctly summarizes recommendations laid out in the 2016 CAP, GCPI, and NELP report, “Strengthening Unemployment Protections in America.”
The Wall Street Journal article feature: “Should an Unemployed Uber Driver Be Eligible for a “Job Seeker’s Allowance”?.
The Georgetown Center on Poverty and Inequality’s report on Job Seeker’s Allowance is referenced in identifying the main challenges facing unemployed Uber drivers eligibility for job seeker’s allowances.
CAP, NELP, and GCPI identify the main challenges facing states’ unemployment insurance (UI) programs, provide recent state-level data, and recommend steps that states can take to substantially strengthen their UI programs.
Strengthening Unemployment Protections in America: A Discussion
Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) and White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Jason Furman explain the need for unemployment insurance (UI) reform. Co-Executive Director Indivar Dutta-Gupta served on a panel of experts to debate UI and the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
Updated, independent analysis from the Urban Institute commissioned by the center, CAP, and NELP—which shows that just three of the center’s proposed reforms would significantly increase the share of newly unemployed workers who are protected by UI.
Executive Director Indivar Dutta-Gupta and Sarita Gupta (Jobs with Justice) make the case for investing in creating new jobs through a national caregiving infrastructure plan.