Economic Security & Opportunities Workshop

Event Date(s): 
July 17-18, 2013
Boston, MA
Event category: 
July 17-18, 2013

Omni Parker House Boston
Boston, Massachusetts
Women In Government hosted its Economic Securities and Opportunities Workshop, in Boston, Massachusetts, from July 17-18. Women legislators from across the country met to discuss policies aimed at encouraging financial literacy, helping families build assets and savings, promoting higher education, and achieving permanency and a sense of community for juveniles in the child welfare and foster care systems, as well as examining current juvenile justice reforms.

View Agenda HERE.

Learn more about the topics discussed:
The Importance of Asset Building
Mary Dupont is the Director of Financial Empowerment for the state of Delaware. Since joining state government in 2009, she has worked with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and United Way of Delaware to develop and launch $tand By Me®, an innovative financial empowerment strategy, focused on increasing economic security for all Delawareans. She spoke about her work with the organization and discussed how she has aligned public and private partnerships to promote financial literacy, financial coaching, and asset building. Ms. Dupont emphasized that debt reduction and control should be priorities beyond just asset building. To learn more, visit $tand By Me's website here.
Disconnected Youth & Juvenile Justice
This session focused on the success that Connecticut has had, leading the nation in juvenile justice reform with initiatives to keep kids out of adult courts, reduce recidivism, and find successful alternatives to youth detention when possible. Abby Anderson, Director of the Connecticut Juvenile Justice Alliance, recommended that legislators focus on ways to keep status offenders out of detention and raise the age at which individuals are tried in adult court. These strategies can help states lower costs while also improving future outcomes and opportunities for youth. You can view her full presentation here.
Supporting Foster Care Transitions
Success Beyond 18 is a national program that works to create a better path for young people transitioning from foster care into adulthood. This session highlighted how legislators can get involved in the program. Dianna Walters, an individual who successfully transitioned out of foster care into adulthood, gave a presentation on her experience, the importance of quality foster care and preparation for adulthood, and her work with the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative and Success Beyond 18. Learn more at the program's website here, and view Ms. Walter's presentation here.
The Efficacy of the Earned Income Credit
This session provided information on the new Center on Budget & Policy Priorities report discussing the effectiveness of state Earned Income Credit (EIC). The report finds that state EICs help promote work and encourage children’s success at school. John Wancheck spoke about his work as the Earned Income Credit Campaign Coordinator at the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities. State EITCs present additional opportunities to augment the effect of the federal credit and offset state tax burdens on lower-income families. To learn more, view his presentation here and access the Center on Budget & Public Policy's report here.
The Role States Can Play in Preparing Children for Postsecondary Education
In a panel discussion three state legislators discussed how states and the federal government work together to address postsecondary education preparation, particularly for low-income children, and how they can connect trade credentials with higher education models. One example of this strategy includes linking IT training in conjunction with a degree program. Senator Nancy Stiles, Chair of the Education Committee in the New Hampshire State Legislature, spoke about her long history in the feild of education. View her presentation here to learn more about her work. Representative Alice Peisch, JD, MPA also spoke about her work as the Chair of the Education Committee in the Massachusetts State Legislature and Representative Mary Lou Marzian discussed her work on education in the Kentucky State Legislature.
Affording Tuition: State Strategies to Increase Postsecondary Educational Opportunities
There are a number of barriers to postsecondary education such as affordability, academic preparedness, and access to information. This session focused on affordability. Monnica Chan, Director of Policy & Research at the New England Board of Higher Education Commission, discussed tuition waiver policies available to youth, particularly those in foster care or justice systems, as well as other policies supporting free education access. She detailed a number of strategies states are implementing to make postsecondary opportunities more affordable. To view her presentation, click here.  
Financial Literacy Programs
This session discussed the success of Action for Boston Community Development, a citywide network of neighborhood-based organizations that serves more than 85,000 low-income residents. Roxanne Reddington Wilde, Community Planner for ABCD, explained that ABCD uses financial literacy, tax programs, and financial literacy to help improve economic security of families. If states consider alternatives to the status quo instruction of financail literacy, these programs will see higher rates of completion. Focusing these strategies on youth, low-income families, self-employed individuals, the homeless, and veterans gives us the best opportunity to see successful outcomes. States should also partner financial literacy with asset building to ensure the best results. To view her presentation, click here
Addressing Poverty in the United States
From the Center for American Progress, Policy Analyst Katie Wright discussed the large amount of poverty in the U.S. and how the Half in Ten Program is working to address it. Although the economy has been growing, so has income inequality. One in seven Americans lives in poverty, and the poverty rate continues to increase from year to year. However, there are opportunities to improve this situation. Katie explained that the Half in Ten Program promotes a number of strategies that legislators can implement to improve the situation. These include access to paid leave; higher wages; expanded early educaiton and childcare; quality, affordable health care, and promoting asset building and savings. To view her presentation, click here
Jill Beckwith, Deputy Director of the Rhode Island KIDS COUNT branch, presented a summary of the new KIDS COUNT Data Book for 2013. She explained the current trends in economic well-being, education, family and community, and health of American children. Though there have been improvements in areas like education and health, areas such as economic well-being have either worsened or remained unchanged. To view the new KIDS COUNT Data Book, click here and to view Jill Beckwith's presentation, click here.
To find more resources on economic security and opportunities provided by Women In Government, please visit our ESO Policy Resource Center.
For Legislator information, please contact:
Johnathan Lozier, Senior Legislative Outreach Associate
202.333.0825 ext. 214
For Sponsor information, please contact:
Sarah Mier, Associate Director of Development
202.333.0825 ext. 246
For Policy information, please contact:
Brenna Kehew, Senior Policy & Program Associate
202.333.0825 ext. 211