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Policymaker's Corner

Policymaker's Corner

Forging a policy agenda to rebuild a state’s economic health demands investing in two generations: working parents and their children.

Safeguarding economic success into the future requires providing the current workforce with the skills they need to increase their employability, while promoting opportunities for the healthy development and education of their children. To accomplish this, research supports a strategy that focuses on three interlinked priorities: education, employment and reducing barriers to jobs. Preparing the next generation of workers requires a cross-cutting approach that stresses reducing unplanned pregnancies, providing high quality early care and education and home visiting services, assuring grade level reading and creating pathways to post-secondary education and jobs, focusing on vulnerable populations and strengthening families.  Recent elections brought historic changes in government and a window of opportunity to reshape public policy, focus on critical issues and achieve results for children and families. This series of policy briefs provides guidance to state policymakers that is grounded in research and based on today’s economic realities. The series presents a range of proven, cost-effective policy approaches that relies on the following principles:

Given the recession, there is an urgent need for a dual focus on helping the economy recover and making sure that families have jobs that promote their stability and future.  A new vision of opportunity for families requires systems and supports that produce measurable, scaleable and sustainable impacts. This has been brought into sharp relief by the soaring job losses and the widespread economic hardships experienced in recent years. Many job seekers do not have the skills sought by employers, and the gap will continue to grow to a projected 4 to 8 million jobs that cannot be filled by the current labor force. More than 40 million people now receive food stamps, an increase of nearly 50 percent since 2007, and economists predict that 1 in 4 children will be living in poverty in the near future. The brunt of this economic devastation is being borne by less educated families and single mothers. They have suffered the greatest and most persistent job losses, plunging formerly working, self-sufficient families into poverty.