Heartland Alliance & Other National Organizations Release Plan for Equitable Economic Recovery

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New Resource Calls for a National Subsidized Employment Program that Centers People Most Left Behind

30 national organizations call on the Biden-Harris administration to "build back better" through a large-scale subsidized jobs initiative - focused on supporting those who have been historically left behind in our economy.

Thirty national organizations have pledged their support of a framework for a national subsidized employment program that was released today by Heartland Alliance.

The framework calls on the Biden-Harris administration to include this equitable and large-scale subsidized jobs program as part of their economic recovery plan.

The recommendations include centering people of color — and especially women of color — who have been historically and currently left behind by our economy. The resource goes further in saying that failure to center people of color in recovery plans will stifle economic growth and prosperity, have long-lasting repercussions for families and communities hardest hit by the pandemic, and miss the opportunity to build back an economy that can withstand future downturns.

“Building back a better, stronger economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 requires policy solutions anchored in economic justice,” said Melissa Young, Senior Director of Research & Policy at Heartland Alliance. “We should seize the opportunity to rebuild our economy so that it works for people of color and would-be workers who have been excluded from or left behind by our labor market. An inclusive recovery will not only improve people’s lives, but improve our economy as a whole.”

Statements of Support

“All economic recovery efforts must center historically oppressed communities, especially Black and Brown youth and adults and those impacted by the criminal legal system. Even before the pandemic, too many communities were struggling to find work and earn livable wages. Young people, for example, were unemployed at twice the rate of the general public. In the midst of the public health crisis, young people of color are now experiencing unemployment rates that approach and surpass 50 percent. A national subsidized employment program that prioritizes those who have been systematically excluded from economic opportunity has the potential to redress deep-seated inequities and move us closer towards racial and economic justice.”

  • Kisha Bird, Director of Youth Policy, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP).

“As we recover from COVID-19 and the economic havoc left in its wake, we must put equity at the center of our policymaking. Women of color have been hardest hit in this recession, and we will only know a true recovery when their economic security is front and center. This framework for subsidized jobs is an important strategy to do just that: investing in jobs and opportunity for the people struggling the most in today’s economy.”

  • Melissa Boteach, Vice President for Income Security and Child Care/Early Learning, National Women's Law Center

"As an intermediary that invests in and advises employment social enterprises, we believe that individuals who are overcoming adversity, including those who have been historically excluded from the workforce, deserve the opportunity to contribute their skills and talents to our economy. This equity-centered framework will ensure that individuals who are overcoming structural barriers to employment are included in economic recovery efforts by highlighting how transitional jobs programs, like employment social enterprises, are a valuable first step on an individual’s career pathway."

  • Manie Grewal, Head of Policy, REDF (Roberts Enterprise Development Fund)

"As the nation's largest reentry employment organization, the Center for Employment Opportunities has seen firsthand the positive impact transitional jobs have in stable employment for our participants. Heartland Alliance's equity-centered subsidized employment framework will ensure the 600,000 individuals returning home from incarceration each year have access to economic opportunity during COVID-19 recovery."

  • Sam Schaeffer, Chief Executive Officer, Center for Employment Opportunities

"Today, at least three in 10 young people are out of school and out of work. A subsidized employment framework like this one will turn the tide for these opportunity youth and others who are consistently shut out of the labor market. The National Youth Employment Coalition is proud to have contributed to this proposal."

  • Thomas Showalter, Executive Director, National Youth Employment Coalition

About Heartland Alliance

Heartland Alliance works to advance human rights and champion human dignity by providing services and promoting solutions to achieve a more just global society. Society benefits when all people can participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. Through human service provision, research, and policy and advocacy campaigns, we advance solutions for health and healing, safety and justice, and economic opportunity.

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Joe Dutra
Heartland Alliance
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