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Joel Rogers | Jan 31, 2014
Category: COWS, High Road
“The Right’s Kill Shot,” The Nation 298 (April 14, 2014): 4-6.
Michele Mackey, Matías Cociña, and Laura Dresser | Dec 23, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation in terms of racial equality. Various aspects of the disparity – from education to jobs and income to incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. This report pulls together a range of data from public sources to make the racial disparities in the state clear. Brutal inequities in the state span measures of poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration.

Laura Dresser | Dec 16, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, High Road, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The Living Wage Ordinance for Milwaukee County would establish a floor on wages of $12.45 per hour for the work done in support of the public priorities achieved through county contracts, leases, and concessions. Using the best estimates of covered workers available, a new paper from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy simulates the impact of the $12.45 living wage on covered workers.

Mary Ebeling and Satya Rhodes-Conway | Dec 04, 2013
Category: Transportation
Across the country, urban freeways are at the end of their design lives, and cities are wrestling with the question of how to deal with them. Cities have the opportunity to rethink, remove, or repurpose urban freeway space, which can address environmental and social justice harm and result in significant local economic and social benefits.
Re-Thinking the Urban Freeway provides cities with best practices and solutions from across the country, to help cities mitigate negative freeway impacts and secure a healthy and more prosperous future.

This brief was written by Mary Ebeling, Transportation Policy Analyst with the State Smart Transportation Initiative and Satya Rhodes-Conway, the managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project and a former councilmember in Madison, Wisconsin.  
Joel Rogers | Dec 01, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy
Nov 25, 2013
Category: COWS
Since our founding more than twenty years ago, COWS has promoted “high road” solutions to social problems. These treat equity, sustainability, and capable democratic organization as necessary and achievable complements in human development, not tragic tradeoffs. They use better democratic organization to increase the productivity of places and to capture and share the benefits of doing so, treating democracy not only as a source of voice and equity, but wealth generation. 

COWS’ commitment to building the high road now, and feeding the movement to build it everywhere, is what unites what might otherwise seem disconnected projects — from designing innovative energy-efficiency programs for neighborhoods and cities; to promoting industry partnerships in metropolitan regions; to convening public and private stakeholders on solving energy, transportation, or water issues; to working with state and local elected officials and public interest advocates on a range of other problems and opportunities. In this program overview, we summarize essential elements of this work. 
Jody Knauss, COWS | Nov 19, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies

Living wage ordinances are enacted by local governments to raise job standards for workers at firms that do business with a city or county, or that benefit from taxpayer assistance. At least 140 communities in the U.S. have passed such laws over the past two decades, and there is now a significant body of research on their effect. The evidence shows that living wage ordinances raise wages for low-income workers, often by a significant amount, with few if any measurable negative effects on either employment or taxes. Any government considering a living wage ordinance of its own should consider the track record of living wage laws in other communities in order to implement the best living wage law possible. This white paper provides these details. 

Bill Holloway and Chris Spahr, State Smart Transportation Initiative | Oct 31, 2013
Category: Transportation

This project, funded by SSTI with a matching grant from the Center for Freight Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE),  identifies and evaluates freight transportation demand management (TDM) strategies to improve transportation efficiency by reducing the social costs associated with goods movement in urban areas.


Information about various freight transportation demand management (TDM) strategies was gathered through a review of literature, an online survey, and interviews with implementers. Strategies are compared based on their costs, benefits, and implementation difficulty. Case studies of six US cities using innovative freight TDM strategies are also included.


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COWS and CLASP | Sep 27, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, High Road

To gain a better understanding of the post-secondary education needs in each state, we - together with CLASP - developed profiles of adult workers in every state who are in need of better skills and wages. Click below to learn more about your state.


Michele Mackey and Jessa Lewis Valentine | Sep 24, 2013
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, COWS, High Road, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies

This report synthesizes key information on the health care workforce in South Central/Southwest Wisconsin. We provide a snapshot of the current workforce in 40 selected health care occupations based on a representative subset of area employers surveyed in Spring 2013. We also project near-term changes in that workforce based on future retirements and employers’ anticipated staffing needs. Comparing the 2013 results to those of a nearly identical employer survey in 2008 allows us to assess key changes and continuities in the region’s health care workforce over the last five years, and to gauge the accuracy of the 2008 predictions.

Across all occupations considered, the health care workforce in the region has expanded considerably over the last five years. This expansion was perhaps expected given the region’s aging population and their associated health care needs. Less expected was the precision of the 2008 projections across all occupations, given the economic turbulence of the last five years: employers predicted an overall workforce growth of eight percent between 2008 and 2013, and this is precisely what happened. Workers in 2013 were also slightly older than in 2008, a trend that may be driven in part by the Great Recession and the need by some workers to postpone retirement.