Jobs Aren't Enough

Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families

Roberta Rehner Iversen and Annie Laurie Armstrong
Book Cover

PB: $33.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-356-7
Publication: Jun 06

HC: $85.50
EAN: 978-1-59213-355-0
Publication: Jun 06

Ebook: $33.95
EAN: 978-1-59213-357-4

296 pages
6 x 9
16 tables, 1 figs., 2 halftones, 1 maps

"Job opportunity" is a myth for 25% of U.S. wage earners

Read the Foreword and Chapter 1 (pdf).


This unflinching examination of the obstacles to economic mobility for low-income families exposes the ugly reality that lies beneath the shining surface of the American Dream. The fact is that nearly 25% of employed adults have difficulty supporting their families today. In eye-opening interviews, twenty-five workers and nearly a thousand people who are linked to them-children, teachers, job trainers, and employers-tell wrenching stories about "trying to get ahead." Spanning five cities, this study convincingly demonstrates that prevailing ideas about opportunity, merit, and "bootstraps" are outdated. As the authors show, some workers who believe the myths end up destroying their health and families in the process of trying to "move up." Jobs Aren't Enough demonstrates that the social institutions of family, education, labor market, and policy all intersect to influence-and inhibit-employment mobility. It proposes a new mobility paradigm grounded in cooperation and collaboration across social institutions, along with revitalization of the "public will."

Table of Contents

Foreword – Susan Gewirtz Acknowledgments 1. Are Jobs Enough for Economic Mobility? 2. From the Old to the New Economic Mobility 3. The Parents: Their Backgrounds, Lives, and Locations 4. The Children: Their Lives and Worlds 5. Workforce Development: Systems and Networks 6. Yesterday's Firms and Today's Families: Connects and Disconnects – with Michele Belliveau 7. Children's Schools, Parents' Work, and Policy: Alignment and Misalignment 8. Jobs Aren't Enough: Toward an Agenda for Family Economic Mobility Afterword: What Lies Ahead for the New Orleans Families after Hurricane Katrina? Appendix A: Frequently Asked Questions about the Research in this Book: Research Design

About the Author(s)

Roberta Rehner Iversen is Associate Professor in the School of Social Policy & Practice at the University of Pennsylvania.

Annie Laurie Armstrong is the founder of Business Government Community Connections, a research and evaluation firm in Seattle.