“Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity for the Next Generation” takes a deep look at prospects and challenges for the region’s 15- to -24-year-olds. Southern communities need to create an “infrastructure of opportunity” for youth and young adults that is as seamless as the electric grid or the water system—and just as essential.

That infrastructure consists of a clear and deliberate set of pathways and supports that connect youth and young adults to educational credentials and economic opportunity.

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From the blog

Overtime changes offer wage boost for Southerners

“No reasonable person seeks a complete uniformity in wages in every part of the United States; nor does any reasonable person seek an immediate and drastic change from the lowest pay to the highest pay. We are seeking, of course, only legislation to end starvation wages and intolerable hours…” ~ Franklin D. Roosevelt, State of the Union Address, 3 January 1938   A full-time, salaried job with benefits has long been held as a marker of a young person’s path to adulthood. For many, a full-time, salaried job comes with the increased security of predictable hours, predictable pay, and the first building blocks of a career—one that offers family-supporting wages. For far too many, however, the laws on the books designed to place reasonable limits on the work week and preserve the value of a salaried wage have been compromised—effectively compromising a working adult’s ability to achieve economic resilience and fulfill a meaningful social and civic life outside of work. Last month, the Department of Labor issued a final notice of rulemaking that makes broad changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to simplify existing regulations and increase the share and number of workers eligible for overtime protections. Specifically, the ruling increased an outdated salary threshold used to determine eligibility for overtime protections: the old threshold of $455 per week (last adjusted in 1975), was updated to a new threshold of $913 per week, which goes into effect December 1, 2016. Under the new rules, a salaried worker making less than the new threshold is eligible to be paid 150 percent of their base wage (time and a half) for work... read more

Fuel for the Future: Food Insecurity Threatens Long-term Mobility

Many of us think of food as soon as we think of home: traditional dishes, daily staples, favorites from childhood. Our ties to those conceptions of home and nourishment develop at an early age, when breastfeeding transitions to—ideally—a nutritious, balanced diet that leads to positive, long-term health behaviors, outcomes, and relationships with food. But it’s difficult to develop healthy habits and foundational memories when nourishing meals are hard to come by. That’s often the case for households where lack of income and disconnection from food production and supply put sufficient food out of reach.

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UNDEREMPLOYMENT RATES BY STATE, WORKERS UNDER AGE 25, 2013.

intro-kidAt the root of the uncertainty lies a pervasive doubt: whether the South can sustain the American Dream of each generation moving up and doing better than previous generations.

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