SSA faculty members to speak Nov. 10 in poverty lecture series

Steve Koppes
Associate News DirectorUniversity Communications

Two faculty members from the School of Social Service Administration who study the labor market for hourly employees will discuss the problems low-income employees face during a lecture at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 10, in the lobby at SSA, 969 E. 60th St.

Susan Lambert and Julia Henly, both associate professors at SSA, will present “Poverty, Underemployment, and Family Hardship: The Realities of Today’s Labor Market for Chicago’s Families.” SSA and the Civic Knowledge Project at the University of Chicago are co-sponsoring the lecture, which is part of a continuing series organized by the Poverty, Promise, and Possibility initiative.

“The continued gloomy economy is drawing needed attention to the quality of jobs in today’s labor market,” Lambert said. “Even before the current economic downturn, employment had become increasingly precarious with a substantial proportion of workers earning an income below the poverty line.”

Drawing on national and local labor market data, Henly and Lambert will give an overview of the plight of low-income workers in Chicago and throughout the United States. They will present findings from their research on hourly jobs that highlight how employer staffing and scheduling practices can make it difficult for workers to get “enough” hours and manage their personal responsibilities, such as caring for children. 

Henly and Lambert will conclude with a discussion of possible directions for public policy and employer practice that hold the potential to reduce employment instability and its negative effects on low-income workers and their families.

Poverty, Promise, and Possibility was organized through the Civic Knowledge Project to highlight the usable knowledge available through the University for the purpose of illuminating both the pressing problems of poverty in Chicago area and the practical steps that local communities can take to address such issues. 

Videos of past events may be viewed at http://news.uchicago.edu/tag/series/poverty-promise-and-possibility.