Main Street 2012: The Year of Living With Uncertainty

December 28, 2012. CNBC looks at issues facing small businesses in the New Year, including a reference to FPI’s report on immigrant business owners.


And more Americans leaped into entrepreneurship based on their perception of promising opportunities ahead, a group sometimes called opportunity entrepreneurs. In contrast, during the depths of the recession, more people had started businesses because they couldn’t find jobs—a trend known as necessity entrepreneurship.

Speaking of entrepreneurship, immigrant share of U.S. small-business ownership rose to 18 percent from 12 percent two decades ago, according to a Fiscal Policy Institute study. (Read moreHow Immigrants Are Changing US Businesses)


Brooklyn Labor Market Review – Winter 2012

December 20, 2012. Prepared by FPI  for the  Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, the latest issue of the BLMR looks at Brooklyn’s food chain including specialty food manufacturing, restaurants, and gourmet food stores. The report finds that when you look at the entire Brooklyn food chain—starting with food manufacturing and wholesale distribution, and including grocery stores, specialty food stores, restaurants and coffee shops—nearly 59,000 people are employed in 7,800 businesses. Thus, the food chain accounts for 16 percent of the 49,000 businesses in Brooklyn, and 12.5 percent of the borough’s 472,000 private sector jobs.

Managing shifting risks: combatting a shrinking safety net with financial empowerment

December 13, 2012, Manhattan. Financial responsibility and risk have shifted from institutions and businesses to individual households over the last three decades. This trend, accelerated by recent state budget cutbacks in social service programs, means many families are left to navigate a more complex system on their own. Can cities use technology and policy innovation to bridge the gap? How are philanthropy and non-profit networks promoting new structures to enable hard working families to meet these challenges?

The program co-hosted by The New America Foundation and The Financial Clinic focused on the impact of risk shifting and how financial development and asset-building tools are empowering families in New York and across the nation. The panelists were James Parrott, FPI’s Deputy Director and Chief Economist; Mae Watson Grote, Founder and Executive Director, The Financial Clinic; Chauncy Lennon, Program Officer, Ford Foundation; and Kristin Morse, Executive Director, New York City Center for Economic Opportunity. The moderator was Justin King, Federal Policy Liaison, Asset Building Program, New America Foundation.

Baltimore says, “immigrants welcome”

December 9, 2012. “All Things Considered” profiles a Baltimore initiative to bring 10,000 new families to the city, making a special point of welcoming immigrants together with native-born Americans. Given the way immigrants are being viewed by government in places like Arizona or Alabama, this may be a way to make Baltimore grow.


“If you think about property taxes for example, having empty buildings is very expensive to a city,” Kallick says. “If you have people moving into a neighborhood, they’re going to be paying some property taxes.”

Deep in the trenches: understanding the dynamics of New York City’s front line workforce development staff

December 7, 2012. Recognition of the crucial role played by front line workforce development workers led Workforce Professionals Training Institute and the Fiscal Policy Institute to undertake a study of this profession in New York City. The objective was to analyze the current state of these jobs and the workers who hold them, with a particular emphasis on issues such as job satisfaction, training, and advancement opportunities, for the purpose of improving the quality of outcomes that workforce professionals are responsible for delivering.

The report concludes with policy recommendations addressed to front line workers, supervisors and senior staff, and workforce development funders. These recommendations are intended to improve the employment practices affecting front line workforce development professionals. A diverse and strong skill set, along with improved morale and the opportunity to advance, can, in turn, enhance performance and the quality of outcomes attained for an organization. Specific recommendations are presented for management staff, front line workers, and sector leaders and funders.


  • Respond to front line workers’ interest in training.
  • Respond to front line workers’ interest in advancement.
  • Capitalize on front line workers’ creativity.
  • Examine retention of front line workers.
  • Recognize the impact that budget cuts have on staff.
  • Address the need for continued leadership development for managers.
  • Openly address staff development needs with funders.
  • Capitalize on your organization’s investments in front line worker training by following through with implementation.

Front line workers

  • Map out a career plan.
  • Recognize that the benefits of training are dependent on implementation.
  • Consider opportunities to diversify skills to enhance job performance and long term career potential.
  • Take advantage of networking opportunities.
  • Find a mentor.

Sector leaders and funders

  • Incorporate funding for training into contracts.
  • Act on this report’s findings and recommendations.
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