ISSUE 95 | February 12, 2021
The Institute is an economic research and applied research and consulting group that provides customized client solutions and strategies to facilitate decision making and planning that enhances growth, impact, and sustainability for organizations.
From Around the Region and the State
Economic and Policy News
NEPA Health Care Foundation rolls out Careers in Care, nursing scholarship program
The Northeastern Pennsylvania Health Care Foundation – administered by the Scranton Area Community Foundation – is launching a new program to bolster the region’s healthcare workforce.

The program will focus partly on improving access to healthcare education for people from diverse racial and economic backgrounds.

It will also offer a scholarship for students pursuing nursing in Northeast Pennsylvania. 

Health care union asks for more staffing at nursing homes
Pennsylvania’s largest union of nurses, SEIU Healthcare, has requested that the state government update its regulations regarding the care of patients in nursing homes.

SEIU officials say long-term care facilities have been understaffed in Pennsylvania, where the minimum staffing requirement is lower than what is recommended by the federal government and the AARP.

In race for COVID-19 vaccinations, older residents in rural PA face tough obstacles
Residents of Pennsylvania’s more rural counties often live far from hospitals and major pharmacies, meaning they would need to travel long distances to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

Those residents also tend to be older than average, and many lack internet access or are not computer savvy, which makes scheduling vaccinations difficult.

Officials in these counties are considering options to improve vaccine distribution, such as partnering with local pharmacies and launching community clinics.

From Around the Nation and the Globe
Economic and Policy News
Research examines the $15 minimum wage and the affordable housing crisis
Legislators recently reintroduced the Raise the Wage Act, which would increase the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour.

New studies from Princeton University and the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia have found that a minimum wage increase could help low-income households pay rent.

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, however, full-time workers need hourly wages closer to $20 in order to afford rent without being housing cost burdened.

Workforce training plays critical role in labor market recovery
The COVID-19 recession has disproportionately affected employment among people of color, women, and people with lower levels of educational attainment – largely because these groups are overrepresented in the hardest-hit industries (e.g., service and hospitality).

A report from the Brookings Institution suggests that improved access to education and job training programs could help individuals transition to new jobs in more stable industries.

Community health workers, often overlooked, bring trust to the pandemic fight
Community health workers play an important role in the public health response to COVID-19; they can effectively connect with marginalized communities and offer preventive care outside traditional healthcare settings.

Many of these workers were sidelined at the beginning of the pandemic, but now the federal government is considering a plan to hire 100,000 people to work in community health roles while helping with vaccine outreach and contact tracing. 

Research Spotlight: What does it mean to be housing cost burdened? The Housing Task Force's 2020 study explores the dynamics behind housing insecurity in a region of considerable affordability.
Research Institutions
Relaying Relevant News & Research to Local Stakeholders