Resource Library

COVID-19 Update: The John T. Gorman Foundation is curating a list of resources, emerging best practices, and innovative ideas from across the country to help local organizations serve vulnerable Mainers during the coronavirus outbreak. To access those resources, visit or enter Covid-19 in the keyword search. Those results can be further focused by using the “Filter by” menu above to filter by population type (Young Children, Older Youth, Families, and Seniors) or by clicking the following links: childcare, education, food security, housing, rural areas, and workforce.

The John T. Gorman Foundation strives to be data-driven and results based and seeks to promote information and ideas that advance greater understanding of issues related to our mission and priorities. In our effort to promote these values, we offer these research and best practice resources collected from reputable sources across the country. The library also includes briefs and reports the Foundation has commissioned or supported, a listing of which can be found here.


Three in five businesses paying average wages under $20k reduced employment in the pandemic

December 14, 2020 – Families

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics collected new data through their Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic, which covers how business have changed their operations and employment during the pandemic (from January – September 2020). In this period, 39 percent of businesses paying an average annual wage greater than $80,000 told at least some employees not to work. A much higher share—60 percent—of businesses with an average wage of less than $20,000 reported the same. Teleworking opportunities also varied considerably by businesses’ average wage. Of establishments with average wages over $80,000, 58 percent reported increased telework available to employees. By contrast, only 13 percent of businesses with average wages under $20,000 increased telework available to employees during the pandemic. #covid-19 #workforce

Hazard pay for low-wage frontline essential workers is needed now more than ever

October 29, 2020 – Families

Brookings researchers follow up on the current state of hazard pay for frontline essential workers as the pandemic wears on. Many of the large retail companies ended their temporary increases to hourly pay months ago and federal relief efforts are stalled. At the same time, the actual hazard of the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased. Almost half of frontline essential workers are lowwage workers and Black and Hispanic/Latinx workers are overrepresented in these positions. Hazard pay is supported by more than three-quarters of the general public and many employers—particularly large retail companies like Amazon and Walmart that have realized massive profits during the pandemic— could bear the costs. Authors recommend that the next federal relief bill ought to focus on low-wage workers and that profitable companies should both restore hazard pay and permanently increase their minimum wages to $15/hour. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Access to paid sick leave reduces COVID-19 spread

October 18, 2020 – Families

Treating the introduction of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act as a natural experiment, a new paper in Health Affairs examines whether the number of newly reported COVID-19 cases declines in states after the introduction of the FFCRA’s paid sick leave components, compared with cases in states where workers already had paid sick leave. The authors find that after controlling for a host of state level characteristics and policies (including different COVID-testing environments and stay at home orders), states with new access to paid leave realized 400 fewer cases of COVID-19 per day, suggesting that allowing workers to stay home (with pay) when sick is effective at reducing viral spread. #workforce #covid-19

Young Workers Disproportionately Affected by Pandemic Job Loss

October 14, 2020 – Older Youth

New research from the Economic Policy Institute finds that workers age 16-24—always especially vulnerable in a recession—have been particularly hard-hit during the COVID related recession. Unemployment rates among this group rose from 8.4 percent in spring 2019 to 24.4 percent in spring 2020. Young workers are doubly disadvantaged by their concentration in industries hard-hit by this recession, as well as their exclusion from formal unemployment protections. Authors caution that the effects of this recession on young workers could persist over the longer-term. #covid-19 #workforce

Laid Off More, Hired Less: Black Workers in the COVID-19 Recession

September 29, 2020 – General

When the Great Recession began, Black workers' unemployment rate increased to double digits and remained that high for more than six years. In comparison, the unemployment rate among white workers never reached double digits during the Great Recession or its recovery. Despite this history, the beginning of 2020 arrived with positive news: The unemployment rate among Black workers was the lowest ever (although still double that of white workers). Of course, from March to April everything changed for everyone because of the pandemic. In April, Black workers' unemployment rate was 16.7% compared to a rate of 14.2% for white workers. #workforce #covid-19 #racialequity

How much is COVID-19 hurting state and local revenues?

September 24, 2020 – General

Brookings examines the fiscal impact that COVID-19 has had on state and local governments. We project that state and local government revenues will decline $155 billion in 2020, $167 billion in 2021, and $145 billion in 2022—about 5.5 percent, 5.7 percent, and 4.7 percent, respectively—excluding the declines in fees to hospitals and higher education. Including those fees to hospitals and higher education would bring these totals to $188 billion, $189 billion, and $167 billion. #covid-19 #workforce

New Data: Millions Struggling to Eat and Pay Rent

September 23, 2020 – General

Millions of households are having serious trouble affording food and are falling behind on the rent, the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey for September 2-14 shows. Twenty-three million adults reported that their household didn’t get enough to eat, and an estimated 1 in 4 renters with children lived in a household that was behind on rent. Also, data for August show that some 35 million people — including 9 million children — either met the federal definition of “unemployed” (which understates the actual number of jobless workers) or lived with an unemployed family member, according to Census’ latest Current Population Survey. #covid-19 #foodsecurity #workforce

Tracking the COVID-19 Recession’s Effects on Food, Housing, and Employment Hardships

September 18, 2020 – General

The unemployment rate is very high and millions report that their households did not get enough to eat or that they are behind in paying the rent. CBPP is able to track the extent of this hardship thanks to nearly real-time data from several sources on the unfolding economic crisis. The impacts of the pandemic and the economic fallout have been widespread, but are particularly prevalent among Black, Latino,[1] Indigenous, and immigrant households. These disproportionate impacts reflect harsh, longstanding inequities — often stemming from structural racism — in education, employment, housing, and health care that the current crisis is exacerbating. Relief measures have mitigated hardship, but there are significant gaps and the measures are also temporary. The data, which we will update periodically, drive home the need for substantial, continued relief measures. #foodsecurity #education #racialequity #workforce

In many communities, COVID-19 will permanently kill jobs. Here’s how they can respond.

September 17, 2020 – General

When a durable recovery strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic finally emerges, it will confront not just one badly damaged economy, but numerous fractured economies. The pandemic recession is hitting some sectors harder than others, with regions dependent on manufacturing and hospitality particularly devastated. Even state and local government jobs have taken a hit, which will likely get worse in the coming months. And within these hard-hit industries, the young, the less educated, and workers of color have borne the worst of the job losses. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Young workers face high unemployment during the pandemic

September 10, 2020 – Older Youth

Brookings authors explore unemployment among young workers during the COVID-19-related recession. Authors find that while young workers are always disproportionately affected in recessions, the present recession is hitting them harder than usual. Young workers were more likely to be laid off and were more likely to be working in service industries that faced pandemic-induced shut downs. While overall unemployment rates increased by 11.2 percentage points from February to April 2020, unemployment rates for young workers ages 16- 19 increased by 20.9 percentage points over this same period. Black and Hispanic young workers and young workers with less education (in particular, those with a high school degree or less) had even higher unemployment rates. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Immigrant-owned food startups get creative to stay afloat during the pandemic

September 8, 2020 – Families

A new article from nonprofit news organization Civil Eats explores the effects of the pandemic on immigrant-led food startups, many of whom are small businesses selling culinarily diverse frozen or prepared foods, building meal kits, or catering. During the pandemic, sell foods to school districts for school meals programs or to food relief programs has been a viable option for some food start ups. For example, after campus closures interrupted a deal between start up Meal Mantra and Boston College to provide curries for their cafeteria menu, the startup was able to sell some of their already-produced curries at cost to the city of Boston’s food relief program. Other entrepreneurs echoed the sentiment to figure out where the sales are and focus on staying afloat during these challenging times. #covid-19 #workforce

New Hampshire farmers markets plan how to continue business through the winter

September 7, 2020 – Families

As colder weather approaches, farmers market organizers consider how to continue operating warmly and safely. The New Hampshire Business Review reports that many of the small venders rely heavily on the markets and might not be able to stay in business through the winter without them. Outdoor farmers markets have been relatively easy to adapt to COVID-19 regulations, but the indoor winter markets will need to reduce capacity and vendors to allow space for social distancing. Further, some of the usual locations for winter markets, such as schools, are not currently allowing non-essential guests. Some market operators, such as New Hampshire’s Seacoast Eat Local, will host indoor winter farmers markets at its regular venues but will limit capacity to 50 percent. Another proposed alternative is to expand existing mobile markets during the winter. #covid-19 #workforce #foodsecurity