Financial Incentives

Community colleges, which tend to be accessible and affordable, serve as a critical resource for low-income individuals striving to improve their prospects in the labor market and life. However, a variety of factors, ranging from a lack of financial aid to inadequate student services and poor developmental classes, can impede students’ progress. Many students stop...

Public housing developments are among the most economically challenged neighborhoods in the United States. In fact, many public housing residents face obstacles to employment even beyond those normally experienced by other low-income people. To address this problem, Jobs-Plus was conceived in the mid-1990s by the U.S. Department of Housing and...

The federal welfare overhaul of 1996 ushered in myriad policy changes aimed at getting low-income parents off public assistance and into employment. These changes — especially cash welfare’s transformation from an entitlement into a time-limited benefit contingent on work participation — have intensified the need to help low-income families become economically self-...

Until recently, employment policy in the United Kingdom had been focused principally on helping people who had lost their jobs to find work. Although some government-sponsored measures were available to help those on the margins of employment retain their jobs and improve their earnings, there had been less support for people once they had found jobs. The launch of the...

The wages and earnings of low-income workers have been stagnant or declining in real terms for approximately 35 years. Nationwide, the labor market-driven growth of the low-wage workforce has become a major issue for both the business community and the public. Low-wage workers represent a significant segment of the nation’s workforce: According to the Bureau of Labor...

Early childbearing puts teenagers at risk of myriad negative consequences, including single parenthood, unemployment, and poverty. Faced with the economic and emotional challenges of parenting, many custodial teen parents — nearly all of them mothers — drop out of school and turn to welfare to support themselves and their children. Knowing this group is...

Launched in Houston in 1993 by James Ketelsen, retired CEO of Tenneco, and since expanded to 12 additional school districts, Project Graduation Really Achieves Dreams (GRAD) combines a variety of promising reforms to improve instruction and raise student achievement in schools that serve primarily minority and low-...

A long-standing dilemma in welfare policy is that while cash benefits reduce poverty, they can also discourage low-income parents from supporting their families through work. Conversely, work requirements like those introduced in the 1996 federal welfare law encourage employment but — given that many welfare recipients command only low wages — can also leave families...

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