Community Advocates Public Policy Institute applauds two pieces of legislation introduced by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) that would immediately address unemployment related to COVID-19 and lift families out of poverty in the long term. Baldwin’s Jobs for Economic Recovery Act of 2020 would immediately expand subsidized Transitional Jobs programs and finance six months of wages for unemployed workers to meet the needs of employers and workers suffering because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 sets the national goal of cutting child poverty in half in the next decade, and sets up a framework of accountability for measuring and meeting the goal.
The Jobs for Economic Recovery Act would immediately pay for state, tribal, and local subsidized employment programs. Amending the Social Security Act, it would finance six months of wages and payroll taxes for public, private, or nonprofit jobs. Funds could also be used for job training and child care. Baldwin is leading this effort with Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).
Transitional Jobs, when combined with other work-based supports, are a proven tool to reduce all poverty, including child poverty. Cutting poverty in half is the goal of the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020, introduced by Baldwin with Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
“Senator Baldwin has crafted two bills that would provide immediate relief to employers and out-of-work individuals impacted by the coronavirus epidemic, while also setting the foundation for a long-term solution to persistent racial and ethnic disparities in employment and generational poverty,” said Julie Kerksick, Senior Policy Advocate at Community Advocates Public Policy Institute. “These goals deserve support.”
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute has long championed Transitional Jobs as a way to remove barriers to work by enabling employers to expand their workforce, especially during a challenging economy, and getting unemployed individuals back to work quickly. Transitional Jobs are featured in our Working Our Way Out of Poverty policy package, which if adopted would cut poverty in half, including child poverty. We also coordinate the Milwaukee Transitional Jobs Collaborative, which advocates for and keeps a watchful eye on the state’s Transitional Jobs programs. Transitional Jobs were also incorporated into Senator Baldwin and Senator Booker’s The Stronger Way Act, introduced in the US Senate in 2016 and 2017.
Transitional Jobs are an effective, nonpartisan, work-based solution to the COVID-19-related unemployment crisis facing Wisconsin and the nation as a whole. The evidence also confirms that they would help to reduce racial and ethnic inequities amplified during an economic downturn.
The Jobs and Economic Recovery Act of 2020 is foundational to our economic recovery and beyond. As it becomes safe for people to return to work, the bill’s passage will ensure there is a way for people to find jobs—even if their old jobs have disappeared, or they were unemployed before. And, because the bill increases federal funding as economic conditions worsen, the infrastructure we all need can be maintained and improved even when the economy is in a downturn.
Finally, both bills address racial and ethnic inequities. People of color have higher and more persistent unemployment and poverty rates. The bills will help close these gaps by providing all unemployed and underemployed individuals—who today are disproportionately people of color—large-scale access to work, as well as focusing national efforts on reducing child poverty.
Community Advocates Public Policy Institute invites those interested in solutions to COVID-19-related unemployment to learn more about Senator Baldwin’s Jobs and Economic Recovery Act by clicking on this link, and the Child Poverty Reduction Act of 2020 by clicking here, and share their concerns with their elected officials.