With dramatic shifts in the economy in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for families to move into or stay in the middle class without access to higher education and skills training. Government-sponsored work supports help by providing direct assistance to working families to meet basic needs, such as child care, food, and housing (see Box 1). Yet, many supports do not reach low-wage working families in Massachusetts because of low eligibility thresholds, inadequate funding, limited availability, limited awareness, and numerous barriers to accessing such supports. Even for low-wage workers who do receive key work supports, such as subsidized child care and housing, reductions and elimination of these supports at low wages can impede vulnerable families’ progress toward the middle class.

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