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Getting Ahead: A Survey of Low-Wage Workers On Opportunities for Advancement

Jobs for the Future

According to a national survey of low-wage workers commissioned by Jobs for the Future, seven in ten workers who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level want access to education and training programs that can help them advance to well-paid positions. Nearly one out of four low-wage workers have paid for instruction out of their own pocket despite competing financial commitments and family obligations, a strong indication of the importance they place on advancing their education.

Low-wage workers who have used government-sponsored or other workforce development programs for job placement, education, and career training have found them useful. However, the survey results also suggest a gap in workers’ awareness of the public system and their use of its services, a gap that better outreach and marketing might narrow. The study, a national survey of 1,002 adults with household incomes near the poverty line, was commissioned by JFF as part of the Workforce Innovation Networks (WINs) initiative, with funding from the U.S. Department of Labor.