In the 20th Century, people from around the world came to Wisconsin and the Midwest, seeking opportunity in the industrial boom. Manufacturing and unions helped create good jobs for many black workers, but discrimination and segregation limited that sharply. When industrial jobs declined, black Midwesterners suffered the most. Over the last 40 years, opportunity and outcomes for black residents in Wisconsin have fallen below national averages. As a result, black Wisconsinites face stubborn barriers and road blocks that many white people don’t even know are there. Racial disparity in Wisconsin is not inevitable, but closing the gap will require a broad focus and multifaceted approach.
‘Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity’ provides a Wisconsin-focused summary to ‘Race in the Heartland‘, which shows the persistence of racial disparities in the Midwest and what can be done about them.
Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation for racial inequality. Disparities among black and white residents of our state – spanning poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. Although activists and policymakers have increasingly focused on addressing these issues, they remain pressing.
‘Race in the Heartland’ and ‘Wisconsin’s Extreme Racial Disparity’ provide a careful historical context and a broadly informed policy framework that are critical to winning greater racial equity throughout this region.Document
Each year on Labor Day, COWS draws a picture of how working people in Wisconsin are faring. The long report, The State of Working Wisconsin, is released biannually on even-numbered years and looks at the economy comprehensively from a working-family perspective. In odd-numbered years, like 2019, we provide a more abbreviated and focused report, called The State of Working Wisconsin: Facts & Figures.
On some of the most well-known economic indicators, there is good news for Wisconsin workers. The unemployment rate in the state has been consistently low. The economy is steadily adding jobs. These are important measures for working people’s lives. When jobs are more available not only is it easier to secure a job, it is also easier to get the hours of work you want, to be able to ask for time-off you need, and to make ends meet. This Labor Day, with the memory of the Great Recession of 2007 now fading from memory, workers across Wisconsin have this good news to celebrate.
Even so, many working families in the state feel stressed and stretched. In this report, then, we provide information on few key long-term trends that are contributing to the stress even in the context of low unemployment. Looking across the last forty years, the challenges working people face are clear. Wage growth has been anemic. Income inequality is reaching new highs. Unions, which have been so critical to supporting workers in this state, are in serious decline. Additionally, state policy, which could be helping to close gaps, is actually exacerbating these trends. From tax changes that reward our highest income families to rejection of health insurance to cover our families in need, policy continues to pave the low-road for our state.Document
Matthew Braunginn, James Irwin, and Satya Rhodes-Conway. A Divest & Invest Guide for Local Governments: Reducing Carbon Risk and Investing in Local Economic Strength. COWS, 2019.
This guide examines the case for addressing climate risk in investments, examine potential solutions and ways to implement them, and explore how reinvestments can create good jobs. This is specifically aimed at local governments, though the strategies and approaches have been proven effective in other sectors.Document
David Abel, and Katya Spear. Wisconsin Opportunity in Domestic Energy Production: The Economic and Health Benefits of 100 Percent In-State Energy Production. COWS, 2019.
Wisconsin has a current energy spending deficit of $14.4 billion ($14.4 billion in expenditures leaves the state annually). With no substantial in-state fossil fuel resources, reliance on fossil fuels is hurting the Wisconsin economy. Transitioning to in-state energy resources would bring dollars and jobs back to the state of Wisconsin and provide a win-win-win strategy for economic growth, social well-being, and environmental protection. This report was prepared for the Office of Sustainability, La Crosse County, Wisconsin.Document
Joel Rogers, and Kris Ársælsson. Digital’s Promise for Worker Organizing: A 2018 Update. LIFT: Labor Innovations for the 21st Century, 2019.
Transcending Oil, released in April 2018, describes Hawaii’s path toward meeting its ambitious clean energy goals by 2045. The report was commissioned by Elemental Excelerator and prepared independently by Rhodium Group and Smart Growth America. It focuses mainly on transitioning the electrical grid to renewable energy while moving large numbers of vehicles to electric power but also points to the importance of managing overall travel demand through transportation policies and investments.
This technical guide describes the methods and findings behind Transcending Oil’s travel demand forecasts, developed by SSTI and Smart Growth America. Outlined in the report are two forecasts: a business as usual scenario and a policy scenario that includes multimodal transportation investments, transportation demand management, land use regulations and pricing mechanisms. Whereas business as usual could lead to a 16.6 percent increase in vehicle miles travel (VMT) by 2045, the policy scenario outlined in this document results in an estimated 7.3 percent reduction. This analysis points to the importance of comprehensive, widespread transportation and land use policies in achieving ambitious VMT reductions. The modeling approach described here may be useful in the development of similar long-term VMT management plans, since it relies on fairly straightforward methods, readily available data and assumptions derived from peer-reviewed research.Document
Alex Bell, Dan Hardy, and Chris McCahill. Accessibility Measurement for Project Prioritization in Virginia. Vol. 2673, no. 12, Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2019, pp. 266-7.
This paper describes the accessibility scoring approach applied by the Virginia Department of Transportation (DOT) in the Smart Scale project prioritization process in 2018. The accessibility scoring approach identifies the increase in jobs accessibility for candidate projects submitted for state funding. The Smart Scale process was implemented in 2015 and entered its third round of applications in 2018; some 800 projects were evaluated during its first two years. This paper contains the following elements: an general overview of jobs accessibility as defined and measured by Virginia DOT for the Smart Scale approach; the development of the Smart Scale accessibility scoring system, including a summary of research performed to identify system parameters; the relationship between mobility and accessibility; and the Smart Scale accessibility transferability to other locations and initiatives and the possible evolution of the Virginia DOT approach in the future.Read more
Yair Kalor, Mel Meder, Satya Rhodes-Conway, and Mariah Young-Jones. Building Immigrant-Friendly Cities: A Guide for City Leaders. Mayors Innovation Project, 2018.
As the federal government takes an increasingly hostile stance on immigration over the last 30 years, immigrant communities have become more vulnerable than ever. With the absence of a comprehensive national policy, cities must develop policies and programs to address the influx of immigrants. Municipalities across the U.S. have to address on a daily basis a myriad of issues related to immigrants, who are overwhelmingly concentrated in metropolitan areas. This report aims to help elected officials, policy-makers, activists, and community-based organizations advocate for, design, and implement progressive policies toward immigrants at the city level.Document
Katya Spear, Satya Rhodes-Conway, Mariah Young-Jones, and Mary Ebeling. Leading With Transit: How City Leadership on Transit Can Create More Equitable, Sustainable, and Economic Vibrant Cities. COWS, 2018.
- Transit is a lifeline for many, and an efficient way to travel for fun and leisure. A robust transit system helps cities with a multitude of social, economic and environmental benefits.
- Efficient, effective transit requires proactive public engagement and coordination between local government leadership, departments, and transit agencies.
- On transit, cities can lead by example, making decisions that reduce disparities, improve air quality, and increase access to key destinations.
Henry Louis Taylor, Gavin Luter, and Camden Miller. “The University, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Civic Engagement: Toward Civic Engagement 3.0”. Societies, Vol. 8, no. 4, MDPI, 2018.
The essay explains the reasons why and concludes with a section on a more robust strategy higher education can pursue in the quest to bring about desirable change in the university neighborhood.Document