Better Workers for Better Jobs

Brief

Better Workers for Better Jobs

Improving Worker Advancement in the Low-Wage Labor Market
December 12, 2007

Abstract

This paper proposes a new federal funding stream to identify, expand, and replicate the most successful state and local initiatives designed to spur the advancement of low-wage workers in the United States. In the Worker Advancement Grants for Employment in States (WAGES) program, the federal government would offer up to $5 billion annually in matching funds for increases in state, local, and private expenditures on worker advancement initiatives. To gain funding, states would have to develop local advancement "systems", partnerships would be developed between local training providers and financial supports for the working poorincluding child care, transportation, and stipends for working studentswould have to be funded. Initially, the WAGES program would require states to compete for federal grants; states would have an incentive to innovate and use information from other initiatives. The federal government would provide substantial technical assistance and oversight.

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