Building Child Care

The Insight Center’s Early Care and Education (ECE) program plays a leadership role in creating systems that provide every child with access to high-quality, affordable, early care and education. Such a system lays the groundwork for our country’s economic future by:

  • Preparing future generations for school and workplace success
  • Supporting working families so they can become economically secure
  • Helping employees become more productive and businesses more competitive.

Click to view and download publications about Early Care and Education.

The Economic Power of Early Care and Education

The Insight Center developed the early care and education (ECE) economic impact model to inform policy-makers, business leaders, and economic development leaders about the economic importance of ECE. The model demonstrates that ECE does more than provide nurturing, educational environments for children – it also plays a vital role in the economy.

The components of the model can be customized, but typically include an in-depth, geographically specific economic analysis that quantifies ECE’s contribution to the economy, and a corresponding action plan to strengthen the ECE system. The Insight Center has conducted research, and published more than 40 economic impact reports for counties and states all over the country. These reports document the link between ECE, economic development, and business productivity, and reframe ECE as an economic driver. The Insight Center also trains local, state, and national leaders to conduct the research necessary to produce economic information about ECE, and works with local partners to develop and deliver effective messages that motivate targeted audiences to act.

Click to view and download publications about ECE.

InBiz, the Inclusive Business Initiative

The Inclusive Business InitiativeSM is a project of the Insight Center for Community Economic Development that provides information to states and local governments, as well as diverse small businesses and their advocates, in order to further the inclusive business programs of public agencies. This initiative is a key component of the Insight Center’s work to advance strategies that build family and community assets and help overcome the racial wealth gap.

Click to view and download publications about InBiz.

Income and Asset Building

Wealth – what you own minus what you owe – is critical to basic economic security and also creates economic opportunities. It is a nest egg to draw on during hard times. It acts as the fence between temporary setback and economic catastrophe that families have been building for generations.

Over the course of the initiative, we embarked on five strategies to realize our vision and meet our longer term goal of creating the environment for the enactment of new wealth-related policies that are targeted and universal:

  1. Produce groundbreaking research that helps us better understand dimensions of the racial wealth gap to help inform policy and practice;
  2. Build and support an Experts of Color Network to inform policymaking to ensure asset policies reflect the leadership of people of color and are sensitive and respectful of diverse ethnic cultures;
  3. Implement a comprehensive and strategic media approach to educate the public about the racial wealth gap and reframe discourse on race and wealth;
  4. In conjunction with the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, create the environment for policy development and advocacy to ensure policies reflect the needs of communities of color; and
  5. Increase the capacity of state coalitions to address the racial wealth gap by working with them to account for racial disparities in their asset building policy efforts

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Legal Services

We provided organizational development, legal structuring, and internal operations assistance regarding charitable tax exempt organizations and their affiliates, including:

  • CA Legal Services Program Support
  • Mission Asset Fund
  • People’s Grocery
  • Centro Del Pueblo

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Metrics and Measurements

The Insight Center built better tools to measure the economic reality facing families in California. We found that families living in California pay different amounts for basic household goods depending on where they live.

Our organizing and advocacy work focused on what it actually costs to make ends meet in communities across California, as defined by the Self Sufficiency Standard for California, a measure of the income needed to cover basic needs available for 156 different family types in each of California’s 58 counties. Unlike the official, yet outdated, federal poverty measures, the Self-Sufficiency Standard uses publicly available data sources to quantify the actual costs of meeting the basic needs for working families by county – without public or private assistance.

Similarly, the Elder Economic Security Index is the only county-specific measure of the minimum income necessary to cover all of an older adult’s basic expenses—housing, food, healthcare and transportation. The California Elder Index is available for all 58 counties across the state and the City of Los Angeles. This work ultimately resulted in the Metrics Matter innovation network for national, state and local leaders promoting economic security.

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PayDay Lending

Payday loans are regulated, in most cases, at the state level, which means that the only way that counties or cities can affect payday lending through land-use ordinances. The Insight Center has created a toolkit that provides a guide to advocating for a local ordinance to limit new or relocating payday establishments.

Our Legal Services work intersects the other Insight Center focus areas through the legal aspects of promoting public and private sector financing and reinvestment in communities as well as promoting small dollar loan programs and other alternatives to payday lending. To read the report The Net Economic Impact of Payday Lending in the U.S. click here.

Click to view and download publications about PayDay Lending.

Workforce Development

The Insight Center’s Workforce Development program aimed to bring about the creation of good jobs for all workers, strong industries that support vital communities, and an inclusive economy that provides equitable employment and that makes it possible for people to become economically secure.

We accomplished this through:

  • The National Network of Sector Partners (NNSP), a network of over 3,500 that supports the improvement and expansion of industry sector-focused workforce development, because they provide proven solutions to the crucial problems our society faces and innovations based on them.
  • Regional efforts such as HealthWorks, through which businesses, community leaders, and public officials are overcoming barriers to employment faced by young men of color, and through which they harness and align local reinvestment, new employment opportunities, and such as Buy, Invest and Hire, and Give Locally (BIG)that mobilizes under-tapped community capital with an eye to bolstering local small business expansion, job quality, and employment equity.
  • Assisting on how to design, operate, and sustain workforce programs that effectively meet the needs of particular businesses in an industry sector, job seekers, and workers.
  • Helping reshape industry practices, financing, public policies, and public institutions through which workers and industries interact.

Click here to learn more.