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Making Connections: A Study of Employment Linkage Programs


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Release Date: 
December 1998
Posted Date:   
December 1, 1998



Economic success poses its own dilemmas. For example, while the U.S. economy is creat-ing new skilled and semi-skilled jobs at an unprecedented rate, those new jobs are not equally accessible to all Americans, both in terms of where one lives and of the skills and income one needs to claim those jobs. In short, people in rural areas and areas in which manufacturing firms (and jobs) have fled do not have equal access to the new employment; neither do those persons with less skills, less education, lower income. A related dilemma is that, although some comminutes have arrived at remarkably innovative and successful means, frequently with support from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to address the first dilemma, those initiatives have not been systematically described and widely disseminated. As the result, even highly successful initiatives have not claimed wide currency.

The four studies that comprise this effort go some way to addressing the second dilemma. They explore in detail four strategies that have shown marked success in producing and maintaining economic opportunities and jobs and also in making them available to people with low incomes. The four studies were conducted by the Center for Community Change with support by the Office of Policy Development and Research of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Pew Charitable Trusts and its Fund for Urban Neigh-borhood Development and by the Center for Community Change itself.

One of the reports, Making Connections: A Study of Employment Linkage Programs considers efforts by local governments to leverage their fiscal and zoning powers to gain the commitment of em-ployers to connect low income people with private sector employment. Such initiatives share certain features: They create ties to employers through the use of development incentives and offering employers an expensive system for locating quality employees, provide timely access to information on job opportunities and establish formal means for screening, referring and placing job candidates. In the report, three long-standing employment linkage programs are reviewed to determine how well they link residents of economically isolated communities to jobs.

Other reports include: