HIRING WELL RESOURCES
Meaningful Work is Life-Changing
More than a half million Georgians are unemployed or unable to find full-time employment. Many of these individuals are ready to flourish if given the opportunity.
GCO’s Hiring Well, Doing Good events were inspired by our work on prisoner reentry reform. For those leaving prison, a job is the key to self-sufficiency and remaining out of the system.
Work, however, is so much more than simply a means for earning a living. Through it, people are able to express their creative natures and help others. It’s a source of meaning and purpose and provides structure to a person’s life. Importantly, it can also lead to many healthy relationships that provide a much-needed support network.
While GCO has successfully advocated for employment-focused reforms for people leaving prison, we know that gainful employment is key for any adult to experience a life that can be characterized as flourishing. That is true for any person struggling to find work, whether they are homeless, have a physical disability, are dealing with addiction, are trying to adjust to civilian life after service in the military, or just down on their luck.
At our Hiring Well, Doing Good events, our goal is highlight businesses and nonprofits actively helping the chronically unemployed so that new partnerships are created and, from those connections, more people find work for which they can be proud.
We also want to inspire business leaders in our communities to expand opportunities for those who are struggling to find work by hearing about the success of their peers, knowing more about the legal and tax incentives to hire, and calling their attention to the extent of the problem.
Below you will find more information about our past events along with resources that we believe are important for anyone seeking to help the poor and those struggling to make ends meet.
WHEN HELPING HURTS
Poverty is much more than simply a lack of material resources, and it takes much more than donations and handouts to solve it. When Helping Hurts shows how some alleviation efforts, failing to consider the complexities of poverty, have actually (and unintentionally) done more harm than good.
But it looks ahead. It encourages us to see the dignity in everyone, to empower the materially poor, and to know that we are all uniquely needy—and that God in the gospel is reconciling all things to himself.
Focusing on both North American and Majority World contexts, When Helping Hurts provides proven strategies for effective poverty alleviation, catalyzing the idea that sustainable change comes not from the outside in, but from the inside out.
THE TRAGEDY OF AMERICAN COMPASSION
This is a richly documented, controversial history of the welfare state as seen from a conservative political perspective. The system is generous with money but stingy on human involvement, argues Olasky, a University of Texas journalism professor: compassion means tough love in which those who give must demand self-help from those who receive.
But Olasky adds a proviso that the giver too must be personally involved. He holds up the example of 19th-century charity workers, whose religious beliefs made them compassionate and willing to deal intimately with the poor, rather than dispensing money to them through government agencies. There’s plenty of social history here–from Horace Greeley, soup kitchens and orphan asylums to today’s homeless impasse. Olasky does not blame the system for poverty. He faults the poor, along with social workers back to Jane Addams and the founders of the settlement house movement.
Veteran urban activist Robert Lupton reveals the shockingly toxic effects that modern charity has upon the very people meant to benefit from it. Toxic Charity provides proven new models for charitable groups who want to help—not sabotage—those whom they desire to serve. Lupton, the founder of FCS Urban Ministries (Focused Community Strategies) in Atlanta, the voice of the Urban Perspectives newsletter, and the author of Compassion, Justice and the Christian Life, has been at the forefront of urban ministry activism for forty years.
Now, in the vein of Jeffrey Sachs’s The End of Poverty, Richard Stearns’s The Hole in Our Gospel, and Gregory Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart, his groundbreaking Toxic Charity shows us how to start serving needy and impoverished members of our communities in a way that will lead to lasting, real-world change.
OPPORTUNITY, RESPONSIBILITY, AND SECURITY
As America recovers slowly from the Great Recession, many of our fellow citizens remain mired in poverty. Economic trends, cultural changes, and changes in family and marriage patterns are combining in new ways that make it harder for those born on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder to lift themselves up. Poverty is changing, and policy responses must change too.
The only way forward, we believe, is to work together. No side has a monopoly on the truth, but each side can block legislative action. We therefore created a working group of top experts on poverty, evenly balanced between progressives and conservatives (and including a few centrists). We obtained sponsorship and financial support from the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. We worked together for fourteen months,
drawing on principles designed to maximize civility, trust, and open-mindedness within the group. We knew that the final product would reflect compromises made by people of good will and differing views.
WHERE IS THE LAND OF OPPORTUNITY?
We use administrative records on the incomes of more than 40 million children and their parents to describe three features of intergenerational mobility in the United States. First, we characterize the joint distribution of parent and child income at the national level. The conditional expectation of child income given parent income is linear in percentile ranks. On average, a 10 percentile increase in parent income is associated with a 3.4 percentile increase in a child’s income.
Second, intergenerational mobility varies substantially across areas within the U.S. For example, the probability that a child reaches the top quintile of the national income distribution starting from a family in the bottom quintile is 4.4% in Charlotte but 12.9% in San Jose.
Third, we explore the factors correlated with upward mobility. High mobility areas have (1) less residential segregation, (2) less income inequality, (3) better primary schools, (4) greater social capital, and (5) greater family stability. While our descriptive analysis does not identify the causal mechanisms that determine upward mobility, the publicly available statistics on intergenerational mobility developed here can facilitate research on such mechanisms.