4 Ways to Solve the Poverty Problem in the United States
The United States poverty rate has reached 15.1%, which is the highest rate of any developed country. To make matters worse, the latest statistics show that the poverty rate continues to climb. Many Americans struggle to find enough money to pay for the basic necessities of life. It's a social and economic problem with a number of different factors contributing to it.
If the financial condition of the general population does not improve over the next few years, an economic resurgence will be difficult. Creative solutions can help end poverty in America. Some ways to address the increasing poverty rate include:
1. Job Creation
The dearth of jobs in the United States has directly impacted the poverty rate. A 9.1% unemployment rate essentially ensures that a vast number of people do not have jobs. A job creation initiative from both the private and public sectors could significantly impact the poverty rate.
The United States economy did not create a single job in August 2011; specific, targeted job initiatives could help reduce unemployment. In order to reduce the poverty rate, the jobs created must pay middle class wages. Minimum wage job creation may help to lower the unemployment rate, but these jobs don't lift families out of the depths of poverty.
2. Job Training
Creating job training programs to teach workers the skills needed to find employment can also help address the poverty problem. Individuals who rely on government services and public assistance need job training programs that match workers with emerging enterprises in need of qualified employees.
In addition, job retraining can help older workers who find themselves suddenly unemployed. Many older workers have to learn new skills suited for 21st century businesses in order to find work.
Education can help to uplift the economic circumstances of any individual. The days of large numbers of available jobs in the manufacturing, service, and construction industries have ended. Many routine production jobs and customer service jobs now reside overseas.
The school system needs to train students to compete in high-demand fields, like math and science. Experts predict that job growth over the next few decades in great careers like engineering and information technology will continue to increase. Our secondary and post-secondary schools must prepare students for the emerging workforce. Targeted education, along with incentives for companies to employ U.S. citizens, can help keep more of these jobs in the United States and help provide jobs for new college graduates.
Apprenticeship needs to become more popular in the United States to fill job openings in technical fields. Individuals who pick up a trade or vocation can find employment that enables them to lift themselves up out of poverty.
For example, an apprenticeship with a carpenter, electrician, or plumber can lead to a high-paying position. In addition, apprentices can earn an income while learning a new profession and get a high-paying job without a college degree.
These solutions, along with government initiatives, can help solve the poverty crisis taking place in our country. We have the challenge of resolving the immediate need, and reducing the rate of poverty, while trying to prepare for the future. Right now, post-graduation life for many college students looks bleak. In fact, many are asking if going to college is even worth it. With a change of mindsets, and some changes in tax laws and legislation, we can help to move citizens from poverty, and into the middle class.
What other solutions will help reduce the poverty rate in the U.S.?
Mark Riddix works in investment management and contributes to the Money Crashers finance blog as an investing writer. You can see more of Mark's work by subscribing to the Money Crashers RSS feed. Mark also writes a weekly column for Benzinga.
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