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Jobs for ALL: Recommendations for Ensuring Equitable Access & Outcomes for Subsidized Employment and Jobs Guarantee Proposals

November 19, 2019

For several years Heartland Alliance has been in conversation with a variety of stakeholders to develop and draft model federal, state, and local policies that establish subsidized and transitional jobs programs. This discussion paper pulls together our insights from programs across the country, research, and participant input to form a set of recommendations to spur debate, dialogue, and action.With over two decades of experience in advocating for, designing, implementing, evaluating, and improving subsidized employment and transitional jobs programs we have a long history of engaging with partners who have implemented variations on these programs across the country and we have spent considerable time learning from and listening to the perspectives of individuals who have participated in these programs. Our evolving perspectives on addressing poverty and inequity, which are grounded in human rights, have contributed significantly to the recommendations we put forth.

Employment Program Design & Improvement; Job Creation

IMPACT Report: Employment and Income Navigation Pilot Program

October 25, 2023

The Chicago Continuum of Care's (CoC) Employment and Income Task Force developed an intervention, the Employment and Income Navigation Pilot Program, to integrate employment navigators and SSI/SSDI SOAR advocates into the CoC'S Expedited Housing Initiative. The pilot has played a vital role in bringing together the workforce, homelessness, and disability benefits systems. To assess how the program was implemented during its 1st year, we conducted a comprehensive mixed methods evaluation using a combination of primary and secondary data sources. The evaluation brief provides valuable insights into the pilot program's impact and areas for improvement. Key findings revealed supporting jobseekers experiencing homelessness through employment navigators and SOAR advocates is of paramount importance. However, we also found communication obstacles, separate data systems, and the necessity of additional resources for sustainability. We formulated actionable recommendations to enhance the program's impact and offered guidance for future programs and evaluations.   

The Growth of Children's Savings Accounts in the Midwest

April 19, 2021

In recent years, there has been a surge in Children's Savings Account (CSA) programs being planned and launched in Midwest communities by state and local governments, community foundations, and nonprofit organizations. This is no accident. Since 2017, Heartland Alliance has led targeted efforts to promote the spread of CSA programs in the Midwest through a collaborative regional approach.This report documents the development of the Midwest CSA Consortium, outlines the growth of CSAs in the region since the start of the Consortium in January 2017 through the end of 2020, and spotlights the diversity and variation in CSA programs throughout the region.

Hearts and Minds in Houston: Implementing and Evaluating Cross-Trainings on the Value of Employment for Ending Homelessness

November 3, 2020

Many communities struggle to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have access to appropriate, effective employment services. Through their work with Heartland Alliance's National Center on Employment and Homelessness (NCEH), stakeholders in Houston, TX, identified cross-system training as a promising means to build buy-in and commitment from staff and leaders from both the workforce development and homeless services systems around prioritizing employment outcomes for people experiencing homelessness. NCEH partnered with Houston stakeholders to develop, deliver, and evaluate a training curriculum for personnel from multiple systems aimed at increasing their knowledge and positively changing their attitudes and beliefs about homelessness and employment. This paper discusses the impact of the cross-system trainings and gives recommendations to other communities seeking to build buy-in for similar cross-system coordination work. 

Employment Program Research & Evaluation; Homelessness

Never Fully Free: The Scale and Impact of Permanent Punishments on People with Criminal Records in Illinois

June 29, 2020

This first-of-its-kind study confirms that more than 3.3 million people in Illinois could be impacted by permanent punishments as a result of prior "criminal justice system" involvement, which is more accurately referred to as the "criminal legal system" given the well-documented inequities that bring into question whether the system actually brings justice to people who come into contact with it."Never Fully Free: The Scale and Impact of Permanent Punishments on People with Criminal Records in Illinois," lifts up that permanent punishments are the numerous laws and barriers aimed at people with records that limit their human rights and restrict access to the crucial resources needed to re-build their lives, such as employment, housing, and education. The report recommends a broad dismantling of permanent punishments, so that those who have been involved with the criminal legal system have the opportunity to fully participate in society.The data illustrates the dramatic number of people who may be living with the stigma and limitations of a criminal record in Illinois. Since the advent of mass incarceration in 1979, there are an estimated 3.3 million adults who have been arrested or convicted of a crime in Illinois. Under current laws, these individuals have limited rights even after their criminal legal system involvement has ended. In fact, the report uncovered a vast web of 1,189 laws in Illinois that punish people with criminal records, often indefinitely.

Win-Win: Equipping Housing Providers to Open Doors to Housing for People With Criminal Records

July 12, 2019

In Illinois, nearly 5 million adults, 50% of the population, are estimated to have an arrest or conviction record. Housing is foundational for employment success, family stability, and overall well-being. Unfortunately, criminal history checks are a typical part of the housing application processes, and many people with records are declined housing opportunities they would otherwise be a good fit for, but for the criminal record.  Our goal for Win-Win was to develop user-friendly guidance about the use of criminal records in screening and housing applicants, and to provide recommendations that housing providers can adopt and adapt, in whole or in part, to increase housing opportunities for people with criminal records.  

Criminal Justice; Reentry

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Employment & Training: A funding source for jobseekers experiencing homelessness or housing instability

January 18, 2018

SNAP Employment & Training (E&T) funding represents a potentially useful but underutilizedresource for states and communities to deliver employment services to the people who need themthe most. SNAP holds special potential for supporting efforts to prevent and end homelessnessthrough access to employment and earned income.This guide is intended to help community-based organizations and other employment serviceproviders that serve people experiencing homelessness to 1) determine whether SNAP E&Tfunding is a good fit for their organizations, 2) determine whether their state is set up to partner withservice providers to access E&T funding, and 3) learn how to advocate for SNAP E&T access andexpansion to serve homeless jobseekers.

Employment Program Funding; Homelessness; Unemployment

Creating Economic Opportunity for Homeless Jobseekers: The Role of Employers and Community-Based Organizations

April 18, 2017

In order to realize long-term benefits for individuals, employers, and communities, employers and community-based organizations serving people experiencing homelessness need to have tools, resources, and partnerships established to identify, recruit, prepare, and support people experiencing homelessness for employment success. This brief offers promising practices for employers and community-based housing and homeless service organizations that want to maximize their success in creating pathways to employment and economic opportunity for homeless jobseekers.

Every System Plays a Role in Working to End Homelessness: How the TANF System Can Support Economic Opportunity for Families Experiencing Homelessness

April 14, 2016

The resources and services available through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program are critical to addressing and ending family homelessness. State and local TANF programs can be leveraged to provide access to critical work opportunities and support services for families experiencing homelessness. This resource provides an overview of the TANF program, examples of where state and local TANF programs have been leveraged to support homeless families, and offers recommendations to ensure that TANF resources are leveraged effectively to support homeless families.

Homelessness; TANF/Welfare

Implementing Transitional Jobs Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: Why and How Workforce Boards Should Leverage WIOA Dollars for Transitional Jobs

February 10, 2016

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) allows local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) to use up to 10 percent of Title I Adult and Dislocated Worker funds to implement Transitional Jobs (TJ) programming for individuals facingbarriers to employment.Leveraging available funds to implement TJ is a key way communities can help ensure that a greater share of jobseekers facing barriers to employment have access to employment programming that meets their needs and interests and prepares them for success in work.This brief provides an overview of the TJ model, makes the case for why WIBs should implement TJ, and offers strategies for how communities can implement TJ in an environment of limited resources.

Employment Program Funding; Workforce Investment Act

Racism's Toll: Report on Illinois Poverty

February 3, 2016

Poverty rates are two to three times higher for Illinoisans of color, and people of color fare far worse on nearly every measure of well-being. In the latest of its annual reports on poverty, "Racism's Toll," Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center lays bare the moral, human, and economic cost of the deep inequities in the state and calls out public policies that have and are actively creating these racial inequities.


The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act: A Better Approach to Serving Youth Facing Barriers to Employment

November 16, 2015

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) changes the ways in which states and communities provide employment services to youth through the public workforce system. These older and out-of-school youth will likely face additional barriers to employment and have different service needs when compared with younger and in school youth. To effectively meet the employment needs of out-of-school youth, states and communities will need to change the type, intensity, and scope of the employment services they offer under WIOA.There are lessons that workforce boards and their partners can learn from prior efforts to enhance and expand youth summer jobs programming to better serve at-risk, older, and out-of-school youth as well as community-based programs targeting youth who face serious and significant barriers to employment. This brief draws on some of those lessons to offer practical program design recommendations for enhancing WIOA youth services to better accommodate older and out-of-school youth.

Workforce Investment Act; Youth

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