These Boston Apprenticeships Are Pushing the Economy Toward Equity

Donan Cosme was only 15 when he found himself in the crosshairs of gang life, facing off against a member of a competing gang, guns raised. More than a decade later, these two men would meet again — not as rivals, but as colleagues and fellow apprentices in Boston’s Sprinkler Fitters Local Union 550.

“We’ve put our differences aside and we can work together like it never happened,” Cosme, 30, said. “This is what’s possible when you give people a second opportunity to make something of themselves.”

Cosme credits this second opportunity to Operation Exit, a program that provides formerly incarcerated and at-risk residents with the skills and support necessary to enter apprenticeships in building trades, culinary arts and the tech industry. The program has placed dozens of graduates into career-track apprentice opportunities that pay well above the city’s living wage.

Read the full article in Next City>>>

Expansion of CalEITC to Reach More than One Million Additional Low-Income Working Families

 

On June 27, Governor Jerry Brown signed a budget that significantly expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), a refundable state tax credit that increases the economic security of low-income working families. Effective for the 2017 tax year, low-income workers with self-employment income and working families with incomes up to about $22,300 will be able to benefit from the credit. Initial estimates from the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy indicate that more than one million additional families could benefit under the expansion.

“The expansion of CalEITC represents a significant step toward creating a more equitable California, one in which all Californians, no matter race, gender, or socioeconomic status, can thrive and reach their full potential.” – Lewis Brown, Senior Associate, PolicyLink

Read Full Statement at Children's Defense Fund -- California 

Six New Cities Selected for Equitable Economic Development Fellowship

The National League of Cities (NLC), PolicyLink, and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) announced the selection of six additional cities for participation in the organizations’ jointly-supported Equitable Economic Development Fellowship: Austin, Baltimore, Louisville, Nashville, Phoenix and Sacramento.

The fellowship begins today in Washington, D.C., where representatives from each city, as well as those who participated in the 2016-2017 class, will convene to build a shared sense of equitable economic development, hear from the outgoing class of participants, and engage with program sponsors and other guest speakers.

During the year-long fellowship, each city will select an issue or project aimed at spurring inclusive economic growth. Economic development experts from across the country will then provide technical assistance, leadership training and make recommendations to help the cities reach their goals. The cities will also designate fellows within their communities to travel to the other participating cities for peer learning and the sharing of best practices.

"Cities are recognizing that racial and economic inclusion is central to their success," said Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink founder and CEO. "We are excited to work with these economic development leaders who are ready to implement new strategies and approaches that set their cities on a trajectory of equitable growth."

Learn more about this fellowship and read the full press release.

Trump’s Budget Should Enrage Everyone


Back in March, when the Trump Administration released its preliminary budget document for FY2018 (the so-called “Skinny Budget”), PolicyLink called it “a NIGHTMARE for the entire nation — poor and low-income people, middle-income people, people of color, children, seniors, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses, working people, those living in rural areas, those living in urban areas. EVERYONE.” The administration’s final FY2018 budget document, which was released yesterday, confirms that the NIGHTMARE continues…

The budget embodies an arrogant tossing aside of the majority of Americans while simultaneously elevating a very small constituency of the very wealthiest in our country. This budget includes something that should ENRAGE everyone- seniors, the poor and low-income, those living in inner cities and urban areas, those living in suburban and rural areas, middle-income people, those concerned about the environment, people with children, people with disabilities, those working to develop and improve communities, veterans, etc. Just a quick snapshot reveals drastic cuts to fundamental programs: Medicaid, Social Security Disability Benefits, and SNAP; an undermining of vital protections for clean air and water with significant cuts to the budget for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; the gutting of key HUD funding that supports safe and stable housing and the development of communities rich with opportunities; the elimination of whole programs and departments that support rural businesses and communities; the evisceration of the U.S. Department of Education’s focus on quality public education for all students; significant increases in deportation resources such that immigrants in this country will be further threatened and isolated, and more.

Make NO mistake, this budget is a major shift away from our core American values of liberty, common good, justice, equality, diversity, and truth; and instead represents a roadmap toward a country keenly focused on the increased enrichment of the very wealthy in this country. The final budget MUST NOT look ANYTHING like the atrocity proposed by the Trump Administration.

This country belongs to ALL OF US. We cannot allow a select few to totally alter its fabric and trajectory. Remember that the final decision regarding the budget rests with Congress and THEY are all accountable to US.

NOW is the time for continued and sustained resistance and action. Below are just a few suggestions of how you can get involved:

  • Educate yourself about what is in the Trump budget by visiting sites such as:
  • Highlight the programs and funding important to you and your family by sharing your story at www.Handsoff.org and use the hashtag ( #Handsoff) to discuss proposed cuts to critical programs.
     
  • Reach out to your elected officials and hold them accountable to ensure that nothing close to the budget proposed by the Trump Administration passes. Visit www.resistancenearme.org to learn of activities in your city during the upcoming Congressional recess.
     
  • Join us and our partners at CarsonWatch.org as we monitor any attempts to roll back fair housing protections and undermine the housing security of millions of Americans. Sign up for alerts TODAY.
     
  • Mark your calendars and plan to join thousands of Equity advocates at our Equity Summit 2018, April 11-13 in Chicago, Illinois. Sign up for updates regarding the Equity Summit here.

Carson Has the Wrong Prescription to Fight Poverty

HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s ongoing listening tour has provoked deep concerns from those working to expand opportunity in all neighborhoods and for that suffering housing insecurity. Secretary Carson’s comments during the tour have betrayed a misunderstanding of the role that subsidized housing can play in helping families escape poverty.

While the HUD Secretary has raised concerns about residents of affordable homes being “too comfortable,” the inverse is sadly too easy to observe: unstable, inadequate housing often traps generations of families into poverty. Matthew Desmond vividly put these connections on display in his Pulitzer Prize winning book Evicted, that found widespread evictions are a symptom and a cause of chronic housing instability, with cascading negative impacts on health, educational achievement, and  job stability.

Read the full commentary on CarsonWatch>>>

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