Kevin Kane Center for Opportunity Policy

Systemic poverty threatens human dignity, endangers families, and is fundamentally antithetical to the American experiment. Unfortunately, too many of our government policies in the areas of criminal justice reform, social safety nets, workforce development, and occupational licensure present barriers to economic mobility and block off pathways to opportunity.

The Kane Center honors the work and passions of the Institute’s founder, Kevin Kane, who launched Pelican in 2008. Under his leadership the Institute played a leading role in a variety of critical issues, most notably in criminal justice reform. Kevin was honored by the Louisiana State Legislature following the passage of the landmark 2017 Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which will free thousands of Louisianans from the damaging cycles of recidivism and help these individuals re-enter society and find work. The scope of work in the Kane Center builds on this critical achievement and expands its reach to many others trapped by government policy that too often blocks meaningful pursuit of work and opportunity.

Louisiana’s Economic Growth is One of the Lowest In the Nation

Louisiana’s Economic Growth is One of the Lowest In the Nation

Louisiana has been struggling to create jobs and opportunities for months. Over the last year, 7 people have left the labor force for every 10 people who found employment. Beyond job numbers, the most recent report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the second quarter on state Gross Domestic Products (GDP) further showed how...

By Eric Peterson

A Closer Look At Occupational Licensing & Public Safety

A Closer Look At Occupational Licensing & Public Safety

State enforced occupational licensure requirements are often defended as safeguards for public safety. In Louisiana, this argument has been effectively deployed to push back against any attempts to reform the system. However, it’s unclear if Louisiana’s expansive system of occupational licensure actually improves public health and safety outcomes. Nationally, there’s very little evidence to support...

By Raheem Williams

The August Jobs Report is A Massive Disappointment for Louisiana

The August Jobs Report is A Massive Disappointment for Louisiana

Louisiana’s August jobs report was underwhelming even with the lowered expectations due to the national jobs report which missed expectation by more than half a million jobs. Although, Louisiana’s unemployment rate dropped from 6.6 to 6.2, the reason for this decrease was not because people were finding jobs. Instead, the decrease was driven by people...

By Eric Peterson

Louisiana’s Love Affair with Legal Plunder

Louisiana’s Love Affair with Legal Plunder

The law should be a tool to protect people and their property from arbitrary and detrimental acts against them. When working correctly, the law should ensure all Louisianans feel safe and secure in their person and property. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world.  Sometimes the government erodes the rule of law to exploit...

By Raheem Williams

July Jobs Report Shows Promise But A Long Road to Economic Recovery

July Jobs Report Shows Promise But A Long Road to Economic Recovery

The latest state job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed some economic recovery, but mainly because of growth in government and education jobs. After adding only 4,300 jobs from May to June, 12,700 jobs were added from June to July. The civilian labor force remained essentially unchanged, so the unemployment rate dropped from...

By Eric Peterson

We Can Defeat Poverty, But Must Choose Real-World Strategies To Do It

We Can Defeat Poverty, But Must Choose Real-World Strategies To Do It

Louisiana is undoubtedly one of America’s cultural centers. Cajun, Creole, Spanish, and other influences mix here like no other place in the world. Rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, the state has an immense capacity to ensure everyone has the opportunity to flourish. Unfortunately, by most objective measures, Louisiana isn’t living up to its...

By Raheem Williams

Reining in Unemployment Benefits is the Right Call for Louisiana

Reining in Unemployment Benefits is the Right Call for Louisiana

During the COVID-19  pandemic, the federal government expanded the unemployment benefit to an extra $300 weekly in an attempt to combat income loss with the shutdown of the economy. As our economy is beginning to recover, “help wanted” signs have become a norm all across the Pelican state. In Louisiana’s recovering economy, the expanded unemployment...

By Raheem Williams

The Pro Act Would Be a Disaster for Louisiana Workers

The Pro Act Would Be a Disaster for Louisiana Workers

Louisiana workers have struggled to recover from the economic and physical damage caused by the pandemic. There are 132,000 fewer Louisianans working than in March of 2020, and the 6,700 jobs created in June means there is a long way to go until the economy gets back to pre-pandemic levels. While workers in Louisiana are...

By Eric Peterson

June’s Jobs Report Shows Slow Progress Towards Economic Recovery

June’s Jobs Report Shows Slow Progress Towards Economic Recovery

Two weeks ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a report showing that the nation added 850,000 jobs in June, beating expectations.  This provided some hope that Louisiana would see similarly large gains in employment. While Louisiana did add jobs in June, the gains left a lot to be desired. Louisiana added 6,700 jobs in...

By Eric Peterson

Ending Expanded Unemployment Benefits will Help Workers and the Economy

Ending Expanded Unemployment Benefits will Help Workers and the Economy

In the last couple of months,” help wanted” signs have become a common sight all across Louisiana. Last month, America had a record of 9.8 million job openings, over a million higher than the previous record just a month ago. Employers are looking for workers and often paying bonuses for them signing up. Yet too...

By Eric Peterson

Another Small Step for Occupational Licensing Reform

Another Small Step for Occupational Licensing Reform

With an economy that is still lagging behind the rest of the country, one of the largest barriers to economic success in Louisiana is the state’s burdensome occupational licensing laws. Occupational licenses are government issued permission slips that allow you to work in a certain profession. Louisiana’s occupational licensing laws are some of the most...

By Eric Peterson

It’s Time for Louisiana To End Extended Unemployment

It’s Time for Louisiana To End Extended Unemployment

The prevalence of help wanted signs are a welcomed sight in the recovery economy of Louisiana. But even though employers are begging for workers and promising great pay, employees are not showing up to take those jobs. The latest job report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed how dire this situation is.  Many...

By Eric Peterson