Back By Popular Demand: Guides for Advancing State & Local Policy

Though you don't always hear it, change doesn't have to be daunting. In 2011, Prosperity Now published With a Stroke of a Pen, a report that offered 24 recommendations for advancing meaningful, moveable and manageable policies—ranging from children's savings to higher education to retirement—designed to boost financial security. Prosperity Now's State & Local Policy team is now transforming this framework into an ongoing series to highlight upcoming and trending state and local policies that have potential to advance financial health and well-being for vulnerable individuals and their families. This ongoing series will frame key challenges, present policy recommendations and propose concrete actions for advocates, making them an educational tool for the field and policymakers alike.

The first briefs in our series focus on inclusive retirement security, options for financing children's savings account programs and youth financial capability in the workforce development context. While each brief is founded on policies and topics highlighted in the Assets & Opportunity Scorecard, they also succinctly outline action steps advocates can take to incorporate these issues in their policy platforms.

These particular briefs are timely given recent developments in the field. For example, the retirement security brief was informed by Prosperity Now partners in several states on the verge of implementing AutoIRA programs, which will make it possible for millions of workers to save for the future. Given new rules from the U.S. Department of Labor, we anticipate interest from many more states in the coming months.

As another example, through the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the nation's workforce development system now requires all workforce development plans to incorporate youth financial literacy. We teamed up with MyPath to identify ways that local workforce development boards and financial institutions can take this mandate a step further by fostering financial capability—the skills, knowledge and access needed to boost financial well-being—at the critical moment when young people are earning their first paychecks.

Finally, the brief on financing models for children's savings highlights innovations that are emerging from Children's Savings Account (CSA) programs. This brief—which targets key decision makers who have committed to the idea that all children deserve access to higher education regardless of their family's economic background—explores ways to fund a CAS program.

We welcome your feedback about how you use these briefs, as well as which policy issues should be covered next in the series. We also invite you to find more state and local policy resources on our website!

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