Happy New Year!
With all the well-intentioned wishes of health and prosperity that come with a new year, it struck me how relative the concept of prosperity truly is. While standards of wealth and success for some come in the form of higher profit margins and happy stakeholders, for others it may look like finally being able to buy groceries for the entire week.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the official poverty rate in 2021 was 11.6%, which means nearly 38 million people across the United States are living at or below the poverty threshold. In California, where Rework Work is based, nearly 12% of families in the state are living in poverty. With the expiration of the expanded federal Child Tax Credit, we are projected to see substantially higher poverty rates when 2022’s data is released, both in California and across the nation.
While I was not surprised by these statistics, I find it interesting that, according to the Public Policy Institute of California, over 64% of poor families in the state have at least one working adult, 34% of which report at least one adult that’s had a full-time job for a year or more. All this to say, the archaic idea that impoverished people need only to find work to improve their situation is a small-minded view of a much bigger inequity problem.
Because there are so many contributing factors to poverty, safety net programs are vital for lower-income families Our first Simply Good article of 2023 reports one way that California has committed to supporting kids who are in the state’s foster care system, as well as those from lower-income families that lost a parent or caregiver during the pandemic. Although the “baby bonds” program won’t provide immediate assistance for families today, it could help with their children’s education costs in future — providing another building block to break the cycle of poverty.
It also helps to have a starting point when you’re looking to close the inclusion and belonging gap in your workplace. Whether it’s for your own awareness or starting conversations with your team, I’ve developed a simple (and free!) way to get (and keep) the ball rolling. Check out my latest Simply Diversity article to find out more.
Later this month I’ll be discussing the importance of finding your own voice with Samara Bay, author of the upcoming book, Permission to Speak. As the creator of Unconscious Inclusion, I thought she would be the perfect complement to our message of finding your voice when it’s needed. From a DEI lens, it can be hard to speak up, be an ally or advocate for oneself, so Samara will be chatting with me about how to change what power looks like, regardless of the context. Check out What’s Happening for details and join us for this LinkedIn Live event!
Stacey Gordon, MBA
Rework Work CEO