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ALICE Workers

ALICE Workforce Challenges

Impossible Choices Should Not Be The Norm

Every day, ALICE households are faced with impossible choices, a reality only exacerbated by the pandemic: buy groceries or pay the rent; get the car repaired or see a doctor; stay home with the children during the shutdown or keep working for much-needed income and benefits. Juggling work and other responsibilities takes an especially big toll on households that have no cushion for emergencies.

These challenges impact a worker’s ability to be a productive and motivated employee. Imagine trying to remain focused when burdened by weighty realities, including:

  • insufficient wages to afford basic necessities
  • inability to save for emergencies and future goals
  • lack of access to health care and health insurance
  • lack of opportunities for education, training, and promotion
  • inconsistent and unreliable schedules
  • unreliable transportation, child care, or elder care

These barriers, among others, contribute to an inability to provide adequately for a family in the short and long term, and to weather economic downturns or crises, such as the pandemic, or natural disasters.

See The Trends And Explore The Data

Based on the body of research published under the auspices of United For ALICE, we know that there are several trends that impact ALICE throughout the state, and nationally:

  • The cost of living is increasing, especially the cost of basic essentials (including food, housing, child care, transportation, health care, a smart phone plan)
  • Worker vulnerability is increasing due to the rise in jobs that are low wage, hourly paid, and/or offer no benefits
  • The number of ALICE households is on the rise, leading to greater instability for families and workers

Employers across New Jersey have been finding ways to address these challenges, including raising wages, making health insurance more affordable, and providing mentorship and training programs. Explore our well of case studies to learn about these projects and what was learned from them. While each workplace is different and may require unique solutions, these case studies can provide a wealth of tested ideas for other companies to model.