Economic Opportunity

Public policy should make it easier, not harder, for folks to get ahead. But Alabama’s long-standing failure to invest adequately in education, job training and other services has limited wage growth for everyday workers and has fueled a growing income gap between our richest and poorest residents. And our state’s tragic, painful history on race relations means those structural barriers often place an even greater burden on black and Hispanic residents. Arise researches the hurdles that stand in the way of shared prosperity and advocates for proven policy solutions to expand economic opportunity for everyone.

Letters & Testimony

Alabama Arise, 51 partner groups urge U.S. senators to support Child Tax Credit, EITC improvements

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) temporarily expanded the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for hundreds of thousands of Alabama children last year. The law also temporarily increased the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for workers without children and broadened the age range for EITC eligibility. Alabama Arise joined 51 partner organizations Tuesday in a [...]
Issues
Economic Opportunity, Safety Net, Tax Reform
Date
November 15, 2022
Author
Alabama Arise
Resources

The State of Working Alabama 2021: What policy barriers should Alabama remove on this Labor Day?

It’s Labor Day weekend. The days are ever so slightly cooler. Football season has started. And Alabama’s economy is officially “open for business.” So why are so many jobs still going unfilled in our state? Why are employers looking for workers and not finding them? A look at some very interesting data can provide a [...]
Issues
Health, Public Transportation, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
September 3, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Letters & Testimony

To strengthen the common good: Six principles for allocating Alabama’s ARPA funding

Introduction Dear Governor Ivey, One of the darkest years in recent memory has put Alabama’s families, communities, health system, businesses – and our leaders at all levels – to the test. Thank you for all your efforts to keep Alabamians safe and secure during this unprecedented emergency. Now that a post-COVID world is dawning, the [...]
Issues
Budgets, Criminal Justice, Health, Housing, Public Transportation, Safety Net, Tax Reform, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
July 7, 2021
Author
Alabama Arise
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021

Introduction When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alabama in March 2020, it didn’t just cause massive human suffering and economic disruption. It also revealed suffering and disruption that have long existed and that policymakers have long neglected – or even perpetuated. COVID-19 has laid bare deep racial inequities in Alabama’s economy and social system that have [...]
Issues
Medicaid Expansion, Budgets, Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Alabama Arise
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 1 – Introduction: The high cost of failing to protect the common good

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Alabama in March 2020, it didn’t just cause massive human suffering and economic disruption. It also revealed suffering and disruption that have long existed and that policymakers have long neglected – or even perpetuated. COVID-19 has laid bare deep racial and gender inequities in Alabama’s economy and social system that [...]
Issues
Budgets, Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 2 – Unequal by design: COVID-19 and Alabama’s policy legacy

COVID-19 revealed a stark reality about Alabama’s economy from the beginning: Our state has stacked the deck against underpaid working people. A high poverty rate, low educational attainment and poor health outcomes – with racial, ethnic and geographical disparities in all of these measures – are the results of low wages, low taxes and low [...]
Issues
Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 3 – Assessing the damage: COVID-19 and Alabama’s labor market

Where are we now? The COVID-19 recession hit vulnerable Alabama workers hard and fast. Alabamians working in low-paying industries suffered immediate and severe job losses, which fell hardest on women and people of color. Unemployment insurance (UI), designed for just such a moment, was inadequate and insufficient to the needs of these workers because of [...]
Issues
Budgets, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 4 – Praised but underprotected: Front-line workers in the pandemic

Where are we now? Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we’ve grown used to seeing, and applauding, signs in front of hospitals, fire departments, police stations and other emergency service providers saying “Heroes work here.” And we’ve learned to say “thank you” to people serving their communities’ needs at grocery, drug and convenience stores. We’ve learned [...]
Issues
Health, Housing, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 5 – Why coverage matters: Health care in the time of COVID-19

Where are we now? While the COVID-19 pandemic has slammed all segments of Alabama’s economy and society in one way or another, the health care industry is where most of these effects converge. By the end of 2020, more than 350,000 Alabamians had tested positive or were considered likely positive for the virus, 72% of [...]
Issues
Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus, Medicaid Expansion, Budgets, Health
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Jim Carnes
Report

The State of Working Alabama 2021, Section 6 – The ugly reality: Alabama’s hunger problem during the pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to widespread hunger in Alabama. We all have seen the pictures – lines of cars stretching for blocks waiting to receive an emergency food box, desperate appeals from food banks that distributed as much food in the first six months of the pandemic as they did in the prior year, [...]
Issues
Budgets, Safety Net, Economic Opportunity, Coronavirus
Date
February 22, 2021
Author
Carol Gundlach
All Issue Resources