This chapter discusses a variety of state-level initiatives that have the potential to improve employment and earnings among less-educated and minority men, many of whom are fathers. There are few bright spots. Minimum wage laws in most states leave low-wage earners behind, and while the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and state EITCs in 30 states are powerful tools for delivering benefits to low-income families, they do little to benefit those without children at home, including nonresident fathers. Although the Department of Labor established a priority requirement for states to serve at least 50% and optimally 75% disadvantaged individuals for its core workforce programs under the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act (WIOA), few states meet those standards and the program remains seriously underfunded with only 30,268 and 25,277 male adults receiving individualized or training services, respectively, in 2019. Some rays of hope for increased state spending on initiatives to improve job quality and equity exist in growing state tax revenues that nearly every state is experiencing, as well as the influx of federal dollars through the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
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