Recent Accomplishments (1)
December 01, 2011
For more than 40 years, CLASP has worked tirelessly to promote policies that matter for low-income workers and families. Below are some of our recent accomplishments from this past year.
Tackling Record Unemployment
Subsidized jobs: Advocated for a subsidized employment program for low-income, unemployed adults and youth. President Obama's proposed American Jobs Act provided $2 billion for subsidized employment programs patterned on the successful Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Emergency Fund that created 260,000 jobs in 2009 and 2010.
Work Sharing: Provided extensive technical assistance to state legislators looking for innovative employment strategies to aid struggling workers and businesses. In 2011, Maine and Pennsylvania joined 20 other states and the District of Columbia in adopting work sharing programs, which CLASP has long-championed as an important alternative to laying off workers.
Improving Job Quality
Paid Sick Days: Recruited business support in the campaign to promote paid sick days legislation nationwide. Employers have been critical partners in demonstrating to policymakers and others how positive this policy is for their workers while also improving their business's bottom line. Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Connecticut recently joined San Francisco and the District of Columbia in putting paid sick days laws on the books. Nearly two dozen other cities and states are also considering legislation.
TRAINING FOR JOBS
CLASP secured $2 billion in the 2010 Affordable Care Act for a program to give states money to offer educational or career training programs for certain unemployed workers. We also convinced the Department of Education to give states guidance on how to use funding under the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act to combine basic skills education with occupational training in order to help students more quickly complete educational programs.
Expanding Access to Higher Education
Pell Grants: Protected the federal Pell Grants program from a devestating $17 billion cut in funding that earlier in the year looked certain. Because of the coalition CLASP created with other concerned groups, millions of low-income students will have a chance to earn a postsecondary credential
Promoting High Quality Early Learning
Early Learning Challenge: Helped craft the Administration's new competitive grant program, the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge, to encourage states to create integrated, high-quality early learning systems. We ensured the Challenge included infants and toddlers and that system reforms would include comprehensive services, and we provided extensive assistance to states completing applications.
Continuum of Learning Act of 2011: Developed the bi-partisan Continuum of Learning Act of 2011, which would strengthen the connections between early childhood programs, local education agencies, and elementary schools - helping many more young children have the resources they need to thrive early in school and develop a good foundation for success as adults.
Improving Child Well-Being
Home Visiting: Focused on ensuring the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program is well-executed and that the new program is not another silo in states, but is an incredible opportunity to create coordinated systems to serve at-risk children and families.
KEEPING KIDS SAFE
CLASP worked closely with Congressional staff as they have considered whether and how to reinstate waiver authority in the child welfare arena. Our goal was to make sure that any such authority would adequately preserve the protections for children in federal law. The waiver authority was coupled with the reauthorization of a small but critical funding stream states use to provide a range of child welfare services-essentially the only dedicated funding for prevention servicesCLASP played a critical role in getting the program reauthorized before it expired and ensuring that the waiver authority can be used to test innovation, without harming children. The White House recently invited CLASP staff to a small meeting of advocates to thank us for our efforts in getting the bill enacted.
Keeping Poverty in the Spotlight
Spotlight on Poverty: Managed Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a web resource which has quickly become a leading go-to site for adovcates and policymakers on poverty-reducing policy. In recent interviews by independent evaluators with policymakers, media, funders and others, Spotlight was named more frequently than any other resource as the place interviewees go to for up-to-date information, bi-partisan opinion, and new ideas about how to address poverty in America.
IMPROVING LEGAL AID
CLASP was instrumental in the successful effort to eliminate the legislative and regulatory restrictions on seeking attorneys' fees that the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) imposed on civil legal aid program recipients in 1996. Working with the National Legal Aid & Defender Association (NLADA), CLASP also blocked Congressional efforts to slash funding for the LSC and its grantees.