Cities Can Help Parents Realize Stable Employment

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The National League of Cities (NLC) has embarked on a new effort to identify and support cities committed to improving financial stability for families by connecting parents to employment and skill advancement opportunities. This effort aims to help cities improve the economic well-being of families and communities by addressing the specific barriers that parents face while obtaining and sustaining employment.

National trends over the last several years show inconsistent gains in employment and earned wages along racial, gender, ethnic or geographic lines. As shown in NLC’s Economic Mobility and Opportunity Task Force report, city leaders know that increasing local job opportunities is an essential element to improve financial outcomes for residents, but successful employment requires a more holistic approach.

In an environment of sharply constrained resources, city leaders are breaking down divisions in the delivery of city services and seeking to maximize the impact of interventions for vulnerable families. Parents, in particular, have unique needs that traditional workforce development programs sometimes overlook.

A targeted, family-centered approach to help vulnerable parents lacking skills and opportunities to find and maintain employment is an important approach to ensure the economic health of families. When city systems that serve both parents and children are aligned and take into account parents’ needs for employment success, the whole family benefits. When families are economically healthy, cities become stronger. Cities have a crucial role to play in ensuring that parents have equitable opportunities for good jobs.

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To kick off this initiative, NLC will conduct an informational webinar and launch a nationwide survey of cities to identify city-led strategies and programs that help parents gain the skills and support they need to improve their employment outcomes (As a bonus to encourage participation, two survey respondents who complete this survey will be entered in a drawing to win a $25 Amazon gift card.)

NLC will then conduct follow-up interviews with cities identified through the survey to provide a more in-depth look into their strategies. Later in the year, NLC will convene a small focus group of cities with parent-centered employment strategies for a deeper exploration into these programs and their successes and challenges. The ideas gathered from this convening will inform a white paper to be released in early 2019.

Register here to join us for the Boost Economic Mobility for Families through Parent-Centered Employment Strategies webinar on June 6 at 3:00 p.m. EDT to learn more about the advantages of parent-focused employment strategies. NLC looks forward to learning more about your city’s strategies in the weeks to come!

Courtney_Coffin2_readyAbout the author: Courtney Coffin is the Senior Associate for Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment in NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education, and Families. Contact Courtney at coffin@nlc.org.