In the face of a rapidly evolving economy, Rhode Island’s education and workforce systems need to keep pace, to meet the dual needs of workers (who need to remain employable), and employers (who need skilled workers to produce the goods and provide the services demanded by consumers). As we invest in the Rhode Island workforce, we need to ensure that the existing workforce, especially those currently lacking English language and other foundational skills or higher levels of education, are able to fully engage in the economy, by providing them with the opportunity to “skill up” to shape a more prosperous future for their families, and for Rhode Island.
This report focuses on the role that both education and training play in helping workers thrive, drawing on research at the national and state level to better understand the strategies that work to improve adult education, especially for those currently working in low-wage, lower skilled jobs. While formal postsecondary education – in the form of an Associate’s degree, a Bachelor’s degree, or higher – may be the right path for many, others can benefit from attaining occupational credentials, either via apprenticeship programs, or college-based certificate programs.
Because there will remain many low-skilled jobs, we need to adopt policies that raise the floor for those workers – so that full-time work offers both dignity of work and a livable wage. And we need to be intentional about addressing disparities based on race and ethnicity – such as persist in educational attainment, unemployment rates, and median wages.
The District of Columbia can use its economic development efforts to stem the tide of the city’s rising income inequality, but it is failing to do so. Instead, the District’s economic development efforts—including the enormous Wharf project—often support creation of low-wage jobs with minimal benefits, a lost opportunity to reduce inequities. By not including requirements to create high-quality jobs, the District encourages developers to compete for projects and profits by aggressively cutting labor costs—at the expense of workers’ ability to live in the District and support their families.
As many cities across the nation experience population decline and an increase in vacant and distressed property, there is a need for economic and housing revitalization. New research from Welcoming Economies Global Network and Fiscal Policy Institute indicates that immigrants represent some of the brightest potential for revitalizing urban communities. However, experience suggests, that immigrants are often overlooked and underestimated by homeownership, community development, and affordable housing advocates, practitioners, and programs.
This report, which includes an interactive tool, show that immigrants have strong rates of potential home ownership in 23 target cities, and suggest that efforts that encourage homeownership and/or vacant property purchase could yield significant returns by targeting immigrant groups.
Cities included in the study are: Akron, Baltimore, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Des Moines, Detroit, Indianapolis, Lafayette (IN), Manchester, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, St. Louis, St. Paul, Syracuse, Toledo, Utica, and York (PA).
The interactive tool can be accessed here.
This report shows that legalizing undocumented immigrants, paired with labor standards enforcement, would boost economic productivity. Reform would remove barriers to advancement for newly legalized immigrants, create a level playing field for businesses, and align our systems of taxation, social services, and social insurance so that they would function as they are supposed to.
“Immigration reform, done right, would be good for immigrants, but it would also be good for all Americans,” said David Dyssegaard Kallick, the director of the Fiscal Policy Institute’s Immigration Research Initiative. “I don’t want to overstate the gains—we’re talking about 5 percent of the labor force. Still, those gains are real, and they’re important.”