A Preview of the 2017 NCLR Workforce Development Forum: Workshops Edition

Each year, NCLR’s Workforce Development Forum provides a platform for uniting and engaging the Latino community on issues that affect the immigrant workforce. This year, one of the focuses will be addressing the complex needs of America’s future workforce: our young people.

Along with the knowledge and skills that participants will take from this year’s Forum, which will once again be held in the fabulous city of Las Vegas, attendees will also have the opportunity to network and mingle with leaders from the various fields that make up workforce development. Attendees will also get the chance to learn from one another with the hope of enhancing our education and workforce systems for years to come.

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Flashback Friday: The Payday Rule

By Marisabel Torres, Senior Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

What a difference a year has made for consumers. A year ago today, consumer advocates celebrated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’s release of a proposed rule to reign in the worst abuses of payday, car title, and other high-cost debt trap lending schemes. For too long, predatory businesses targeted communities of color and other consumers who had limited access to credit with loans and promises of quick cash to help make ends meet. Because these businesses have been unregulated, they have gotten away with charging exorbitant fees and structuring their loan products to keep consumers in a cycle of debt. After hearing the countless experiences from consumers who were victims of these debt traps, the CFPB, an agency that was established with the sole mission of keeping the financial marketplace transparent and fair, stepped in and proposed a rule to stop these harmful practices.

Fast-forward to today: Congress stands poised to not only roll back the CFPB’s ability to regulate these businesses, but the very existence of the CFPB is threatened by an upcoming vote on the Financial CHOICE Act, H.R. 10. This legislation—dubbed the WRONG Choice Act by consumer advocates—will undo years of positive regulatory work intended to make sure payday lenders and other bad actors stay off the market, and that we don’t face the same conditions that led to the Great Recession.

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Workers in the United States Deserve a Raise

By Yuqi Wang, Policy Analyst, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

Millions of workers and their families are living in poverty despite being employed and working back-breaking hours. This is largely because the federal minimum wage has been stuck at $7.25 for the last six years, while the cost of living, food, education, and health care have continued to soar.

Worse, the minimum wage for tipped workers has been frozen at $2.13 for more than a quarter of a century. It’s clearly time to raise the minimum wage—workers deserve a better standard of living that doesn’t force them to struggle to cover standard necessities.

The “Raise the Wage Act” introduced yesterday by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Representatives Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) would go a long way toward strengthening middle-class families by raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2024, and gradually increasing the tipped minimum wage each year. This legislation would help lift full-time workers out of poverty, reduce their need for public benefits, and increase their ability to afford basic living costs such as food, visits to the doctor, and home repairs.

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Access to Small-Dollar Credit Leads to Immigrant Financial Inclusion

By Sabrina Terry, Senior Strategist, Economic Policy Project, NCLR

The size of the U.S. immigrant population has grown significantly over the past 40 years, from 4.7 percent of the total population in 1970 to 13.5 percent in 2015. Of the 43 million immigrants living in the United States in 2015, 45 percent (19.5 million) were Latino. The hard work and ingenuity of the immigrant community has produced many important contributions; for example: the foreign-born labor force participation rate (65.2 percent) exceeds that of native-born workers (62.2 percent); immigrants are more than twice as likely to start a business as native-born citizens; and foreign-born Latinos who have become naturalized citizens vote at higher rates than native-born Latinos.

Yet there are also areas where immigrants lag behind their native peers, and targeted interventions are needed to help people fully integrate into American society. One such area is financial inclusion, the ability to access and utilize affordable financial services and products, which is essential to building a financial identity, assets, and wealth in this country. Many Latino immigrants lack knowledge of how to navigate the U.S. financial system. In addition, immigrants tend to have unique financial backgrounds—uneven income streams or cash income, less likely to be banked, and more likely to have thin or no credit histories.

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Trump’s Budget: A Slash-and-Burn Approach that Will Hurt Americans

Today the president released his first full budget proposal for the fiscal year 2018, and it’s as bad as we expected. Included in the plan are drastic cuts to many of the most successful assistance programs that have helped working and middle-class families move ahead during tough economic times. It would cut $1.7 trillion in funding that provides a lifeline to millions of Americans, and it would gut key programs that help families afford food, housing, and health care.

A budget is a moral document that should reflect our values. The Trump Budget is an assault on children and working families.

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