Lowering Employment Barriers
The Working Poor
Even in good economic times, thousands of working people still struggle to make ends meet. In King and Snohomish counties in 2007, 1 out of every 8 working adults lived in poverty.
The Workforce Development Council has identified this issue as a priority. Read our October 2007 report The Myth of Full Employment: Working and Still Poor in King County.
WDC Programs and Partnerships
- Self-Sufficiency Calculator. Knowing that merely being employed does not mean you can meet your needs, the WDC focuses on self-sufficiency in our job training and employment programs. One of our chief tools is the innovative Self-Sufficiency Calculator.
• SkillUp Washington. The WDC is a key participant in this collaborative of funders focused on assisting low-income working people to achieve skills training and self-sufficiency.
The Working Poor: Resources and Publications
These pages offer help to those seeking to apply for public benefits/work supports.
- People Point: Bridge to Benefits--One-stop access to benefits for residents of King County.
- Low Income Self-Sufficiency Resources--A page by Washington Appleseed with links to help people apply for public benefits, tax help and other services.
WDC Working Poor Forum Presentations
To launch our report on the working poor and draw community attention to this issue, the WDC held a public forum in October 2007. Below are links to the presentations made at the forum by community leaders. (PDF format)
- "Working But Poor"
by Marcia K. Meyers
West Coast Poverty Center, Univ. of Washington
- "What Do We Know about the Working Poor in Washington State?"
by Dr. Diana Pearce
Center for Women's Welfare, Univ. of Washington
- "The Working Poor in East King County: Hardly Getting By"
by Leah McCollough
- "Assets and the Working Poor"
by Dave Sieminski
United Way of King County
Organizations and Initiatives
- SkillUp Washington - The WDC is a key participant in this collaborative of funders focused on assisting low-income working people to achieve skills training and self-sufficiency.
- Washington Appleseed - Dedicated to public-interest law and social policy, this nonprofit includes low-income self-sufficiency as a focus.
- West Coast Poverty Center - The newest of three regional poverty research centers, this center at the University of Washington studies the causes and effects of poverty in the West Coast states.
- Center for Women's Welfare - This center at the University of Washington partners with the WDC to produce the Self-Sufficiency Standard and Calculator. It is devoted to the goal of economic justice for women and their families.
- Bridging the Gaps -- A national project to increase the use of work supports--help for needs such as health care, child care, food, and housing--among working families.
Articles and Publications
- The Myth of Full Employment: Working and Still Poor in King County (October 2007) -- A WDC State of the Workforce report.
- The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Washington State (August 2009) -- Published by the WDC and Dr. Diana Pearce, the WDC's partner in creating the Self-Sufficiency Calculator, this report includes an analysis of the gaps between income and self-sufficiency and tables of self-sufficiency requirements in each of the state's counties.
- Overlooked and Undercounted: Wages, Work and Poverty in Washington State (September 2007) -- A report by Dr. Diana Pearce of the Center for Women's Welfare.
- The Status of Working Poor Families in Washington and other publications from the Seattle Jobs Initiative, including Bridging the Gaps in Washington (January 2008).
- Movin' On Up: Reforming America's Social Contract to Provide a Bridge to the Middle Class (February 2008). A Bridging the Gaps report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research