• 296 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 16 tables, 1 figure, 2 halftones, 1 map
  • Price: $33.95
  • EAN: 9781592133567
  • Publication: Jun 2006
  • Price: $85.50
  • EAN: 9781592133550
  • Publication: Jun 2006
  • Price: $33.95
  • EAN: 9781592133574
  • Publication: Jun 2006

Jobs Aren't Enough

Toward a New Economic Mobility for Low-Income Families

Roberta Rehner Iversen and Annie Laurie Armstrong

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five cities, this study convincingly demonstrates that prevailing ideas about opportunity, merit, and "bootstraps" are outdated.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."


"Iversen and Armstrong make a strong case that political, economic and social systems need to change in order to support people on the job... This book is so well researched that it's also a compendium of fascinating and frightening statistics from other studies about American workers and our workforce development system...folks designing and implementing political, economic and social systems need to learn what Iversen and Armstrong know. The public needs to use this information to demand better, more effective systems based on realities, not myths."Workforce Developments

"(T)his book could be used as a complete document to enable students to fully comprehend the definition and theory of economic mobility…(it is) a valuable piece of evidence for political decision-makers involved in policy-making related to education, labor force, and social benefits affecting low-income families…(it) may change the way economic mobility is regarded by providing a more realistic account of the process of attaining economic advancement…Finally, this book provides ammunition to encourage others to acknowledge the injustices of society and the hardships and realities of succeeding economically in America."Families in Society

"(The chapter) on workforce development stands out as a shining centerpiece to the entire volume and as a key contribution to the literature with compelling applications for social work practice. It is here that Roberta Iversen’s expertise in the area of workforce development, is both evidenced and affirmed…For the growing number of social work scholars involved in research and teaching on workforce development and employment. Jobs Aren’t Enough is required reading."Qualitative Social Work

"Iversen and Armstrong give us a unique comprehensive glimpse into the world of low-wage employment in an environment where considerable resources are devoted to improving the lives of the working poor in America. The results in this excellent book are both revealing and depressing….The authors do an excellent job of explaining, for general audiences, how systems of social networks, cultural capital, and embeddedness describe the economic milieu that most of us live in. They also do an excellent job of showing how these families have some of the things (e.g., family supports) but critically lack others (e.g., access to good schools for their children.)…Jobs Aren’t Enough is well worth your time and your money. If nothing else you will develop a greater understanding of just how much work there is to make a working society a prosperous one."Contemporary Sociology

"Iversen and Armstrong have produced an in-depth ethnographic study of low-income families living in major American cities over a period of five years…The authors have amassed a great deal of evidence that question prevailing beliefs about work, education and opportunity. The detailed accounts of the challenges faced by the families in the study provide ample evidence that much more needs to be done to address these challenges. The book is an important addition to the literature and should be widely consulted."The Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

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.

Also of Interest

What Workers Say

Roberta Rehner Iversen