Investing in Our Community
The 2020 Connecticut United Ways ALICE Report revealed that 38% of households in CT have income which falls below what is needed to pay for basic necessities such as housing, food, child care, health care, technology, and transportation. (That percentage is 42% in Stamford).
CT reported relatively low unemployment reported before the pandemic, but that low unemployment rate conceals risk to workers: growth in the number of low-wage jobs, minimal increases in wages, and more fluctuations in job hours, schedules, and benefits that make it harder to budget and plan. In 2018, 52% of Connecticut workers were paid by the hour as opposed to salaried; and 45% of the state’s jobs paid less than $20 per hour.
Fairfield County had the highest level of income inequality among the 100 largest U.S. metros in 2016. In Fairfield County, the highest-earning 5% make 15x more money than the bottom 20%.
Across Fairfield County, both young adults (25 percent) and Black and Latino residents (28 percent and 20 percent, respectively) face higher rates of underemployment than the county’s population overall. 64% of Stamford and Norwalk young adults attain a job with no opportunities for advancement.
Industries most affected by the pandemic -- office support, food services, customer service -– will see long-term displacement and result in the need to reskill the workforce for new careers growing industries like information technology, healthcare, and advanced manufacturing. In addition, Connecticut has an aging workforce with a high retirement rate. This creates an urgent need to replenish the workforce while upskilling incumbent workers.
lower-paid workforce face significant barriers to employment including include
child care, transportation, and access to behavioral health services. Many of
these barriers disproportionately affect specific underserved populations and
have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.