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Working Poor, No More: How Three Bay Area Projects are Making Self-Sufficiency a Reality

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The Working Poor Project is part of an overall effort to build the field serving low-income workers with dependent family members ("the working poor"). In order to have a cohesive strategy in building this field, NEDLC has studied the demographics and distribution of the working poor and identified the public and private policies and practices that may assist working families to reach self-sufficiency, as well as the policies, practices and economic trends that may be causing many working families to remain in poverty. Finally, it has been necessary to look at the effectiveness of service providers to create programs that improve the skills, wages and career opportunities of the working poor. This last task is the objective of this report and it will accomplish this by using case studies to look at three successful programs.
In November 2002, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Hewlett) funded the National Economic Development and Law Center to carry out a two year project aimed at building: (1) the field of service providers and (2) a greater pool of financial investment to support the working poor in career advancement and wage gains. The specific intent of this report is to learn from three successful projects funded by Hewlett through its Employment Development program.