Education and Jobs are the Key to Reducing Poverty

A recent New York Times Op-Ed made a plea for policy makers to implement policies and programs that we know work to reduce poverty.

“‘To make a difference, we have to do things that actually work,’ said Gordon Berlin, the president of MDRC, a research organization that pioneered the use of randomized trials to evaluate poverty-fighting strategies.”

“The two most important interventions seem to be education and jobs. Schooling programs pay off from early childhood all the way through community college. And jobs programs lift entire families.”;=th

This seems so simple, but despite reams of good data that support investments in education, starting with early childhood education and care and going up through workforce development and jobs programs, we fail to make needed commitments in these areas.

MACED did some work to try to determine key problems and potential solutions to challenges around Child Care in Appalchian Kentucky, particularly the difficulty providers face in making ends meet in a low-income market. The potential payoffs to investments in child care are substantial, but in already distressed areas, the resources will have to come from improved policies and increased public investment.

We are beginning to unpack the workforce development basket and offer some thoughts in our recent report Investing in Kentucky’s Working Families: A Path to Shared Prosperity in the Commonwealth.

Plans to strengthen education and workforce development systems will be essential to building new economic opportunities in Central Appalachia. We look forward to hearing more from folks in the region about what’s working and what’s still needed in your communities.

Click here for a spotlight on a Johnson County, KY child care provider.

About Melissa Fry Konty