America Needs a Real Second-Chance Economy

Blog Post
Jan. 20, 2015

Among the millions of currently jobless Americans, an astonishing percentage qualify as “long-term unemployed,” which means they have been out of work for more than six months. In all but 2 states and 4 cities across the country, it is perfectly legal for employers to discriminate against potential workers based solely on their employment status. With a landscape like that, say Rachel Black and Aleta Sprague, our “second-chance economy” will remain an ideal and not a reality for too many Americans.

Black and Sprague outline the concrete steps needed to truly enfranchise the long-term unemployed in “Give the Unemployed a Second Chance,” published yesterday on This is the third installment in the “Big Ideas for a New America" series on, in which New America will spotlight solutions to the nation’s greatest challenges offered by experts in various areas of policy, thought, and innovation.