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.


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

Persistent labor market challenges spell trouble for disadvantaged households

September 4, 2020 – Families

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities finds that despite positive job growth in the past several months, the “jobs hole” from March and April has not been repaired. State and local government job losses (including in education) account for about 10% of these losses, while broader losses are clustered among workers in low-wage industries and without a bachelor’s degree. The pandemic has also exacerbated racial-ethnic gaps in unemployment by hitting hardest the industries in which workers of color are clustered. The report concludes by urging the federal government to further supplement unemployment compensation for workers facing serious and enduring hardship. #covid-19 #workforce #racialequity

Federal Reserve of Boston finds unemployment worse than in Great Recession

September 3, 2020 – Families

New research from the Federal Reserve Bank compares pandemic-era initial and continued unemployment claims for the U.S. and New England with those from the Great Recession. The authors find that the level of initial claims in the pandemic had exceeded those in the entire 79-week-long Great Recession in just 12 weeks (that is, by May 30) nationally, and in just 10 weeks in New England. Levels of continuing unemployment insurance claims are three to four times larger than in the Great Recession in New England. The research also found that women, younger workers, and those in personal care or food service occupations were more likely to file ongoing claims. #covid-19 #workforce

New York City initiates project labor agreements that require hiring low-income New Yorkers

August 13, 2020 – Families

As part of an “economic justice” initiative, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio created a new Community Hiring plan, which includes new agreements with the city’s building and construction unions to expand access to apprenticeship programs; prioritize hiring workers who are public housing residents or who live in high-poverty zip codes; and supply new opportunities and flexibilities for minority- and women-owned businesses. This effort aims to address the disproportionate effects that the pandemic has had on low income workers of color and may provide a model for other cities. #covid-19 #workforce

77% of low- to moderate-income U.S. households experience asset poverty

August 4, 2020 – Families

New research out of Oregon State University published in the journal Social Policy Administration finds that more than three quarters of low- to moderate income U.S. households are below the asset poverty threshold, wherein the household does not have enough financial assets to withstand three months without income. This is particularly relevant as the pandemic has left many unemployed and many federal CARES Act programs have expired, such as the increased unemployment insurance benefits, The authors also compare asset poverty rates in the United States and in Canada, finding that the situation in Canada is only slightly better, with still 62% of low- to moderate-income households below the asset poverty threshold. #covid-19 #workforce

Is the unemployment boost a disincentive to work? Research suggests more complex answer

August 4, 2020 – Families

A new post for The Conversation features analysis from a University of Maryland economist, who examined the notion that the $600 supplemental unemployment benefit disincentivizes employment by exceeding usual wages for some workers. The analysis revealed that on average, unemployed workers were bringing in 127% of their usual wages with this supplement. However, the author points to loss of non-cash benefits (like health insurance) as also important for understanding incentives, and cites research from Yale, which found no evidence of a disincentivizing effect (in part, because unemployment is only available to those who have not received a viable employment offer). Finally, while wage replacement is an important goal of unemployment insurance, the other key goal is to stimulate the economy through consumer spending during economic downturns, which the author argues, is especially important now. Overall, the author argues that a federal supplement to unemployment insurance is a useful policy to support households and the economy during the pandemic. #covid-19 #workforce

Research-based framework to support equitable economic recovery

July 23, 2020 – Families

A new report from Brookings experts provides a framework for supporting equitable recovery from the COVID-19 recession. The essay speaks to the nation’s enthusiasm for an economic recovery that addresses racial inequalities and, in particular, values Black lives and Black communities. In order to ‘rebuild better’, the proposed framework takes a more integrated approach than previous recovery efforts that have focused on creating new and distinct initiatives, often in the field of community development. Instead, authors suggest that more equitable economic outcomes are possible through embedding this work across the economy. Specific actions for local governments and leaders include improving career navigation and placement services, establishing a local service corps, creating digital equity offices promoting broadband access, and building new institutional capacity rather than only relying on traditional institutions. #covid-19 #racialequity #workforce

Identifying challenges and supports for working parents of school-aged children

July 20, 2020 – Young Children, Families

An Urban Institute working paper summarizes the challenges working parents face in ensuring a safe learning setting for their school-aged children in fall. Specifically, partially or fully remote schooling comes as the pandemic has shrunk the supply of before- and after-school programming and traditional childcare slots, and reduced usual sources of back-up care (e.g., informal grandparent care) who may be jeopardized for health reasons. As such, parents are facing a major challenge. Care and supervision needs among school-aged children will be elevated by two-to-three times over usual levels, depending on the distance learning plan in place, and will require new efforts to address. The authors suggest focusing on priority populations (e.g., families at elevated risk of COVID19 or who are essential workers working outside the home) and encourage cross-sector support efforts. These efforts might include assessing family needs, connecting schools with caregivers for support, coordinating data collection, blending funding across sectors, and identifying ways to continue services for students. #covid-19 #childcare #education #workforce

Tax credits related to job creation and training found to support local economies

July 20, 2020 – Families

New research describes how different financial incentives for businesses result in varying degrees of success for improving local economies. The authors find that investment tax credits, development tax credits, and property tax abatements do not realize gains for local communities. Conversely, incentives linked with job creation and training have positive effects. Specifically, for places trying to attract new businesses, focusing on job-creating tax credits and job training grants were found to transition people into higher-paying jobs and spur local growth. These findings are especially important as communities consider ways to bolster their local economies in the aftermath of the pandemic. #covid-19 #workforce

Making child tax credit fully available would benefit 6 million women of color

July 16, 2020 – Families

New research from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities examines the implications of expanding full Child Tax Credits to those whose low earnings only presently qualify them for a partial credit. Findings suggest that not only would this strategy reduce financial hardship, it would also reduce racial and ethnic income disparities by benefiting 18 percent of Latina women and 13 percent of Black women, compared with 5 percent of white women, and increasing average credit values across all families by $2,300. This policy shift is especially important considering COVID-related job losses that reduced many low wage workers’ earnings for the year, potentially dropping them below the current threshold for full credit eligibility. #racialequity #workforce #covid-19