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Jobs Aren't Enough: Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families

Jobs Aren't Enough: Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families

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This unflinching examination of the obstacles to economic mobility for low-income families exposes the ugly reality that lies beneath the shining surface of the American Dream. The fact is that nearly 25% of employed adults have difficulty supporting their families today. In eye-opening interviews, twenty-five workers and nearly a thousand people who are linked to them—children, teachers, job trainers, and employers—tell wrenching stories about "trying to get ahead." Spanning five cities over five years, this study convincingly demonstrates that prevailing ideas about opportunity, merit, and "bootstraps" are outdated. As the authors show, some workers who believe the myths end up destroying their health and families in the process of trying to "move up."

Jobs Aren't Enough demonstrates that the social institutions of family, education, labor market, and policy all intersect to influence—and inhibit—employment mobility. It proposes a new mobility paradigm grounded in cooperation and collaboration across social institutions, along with revitalization of the "public will."