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Occasional Paper

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This paper addresses the employment environment within which poor single mothers and other low-wage earners work, and identifies policies to foster economic advancement. Low-wage status, often resulting from minimal education and skills, is reinforced by irregular work schedules and more frequent unemployment periods. Despite recent rises in national productivity, low-wage advancement opportunities remain limited and inequality in family income distribution is growing. New policies are needed to extend low-earner career potential.

The paper highlights particularly effective experience of three approaches that enhance earnings of single mothers and other low-wage earners – workforce intermediaries that promote specific job advancement programs, community colleges that strengthen vocational and educational foundations, and access to one-stop centers that foster paid work connectedness. We detail the extent, impact, and needed improvements of these policies, and urge expansion of their availability to benefit single mothers and other low earners and their families.


Center for Social Policy Working Paper #2009-3.



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