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.

July Jobs Report Brings Good News for Louisiana

July Jobs Report Brings Good News for Louisiana

Despite sky-high inflation and other economic concerns, July was a good month for Louisiana job seekers. Approximately 13,700 Louisianans found a job in July, the largest job growth the state has seen in a long time. The sectors which saw the largest job increases were professional and business services which increased by 6,700 followed by...

By John Kay

Workforce Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Workforce Back to Pre-Pandemic Levels

American economists woke to a welcome surprise this morning with the July employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even with sky-high inflation and negative economic growth for two straight quarters, 528,000 more Americans now have a job, which brought the unemployment rate down to 3.5%. Both of these numbers are now lower than...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

The Tide Has Turned on Occupational Licensing in Louisiana

The Tide Has Turned on Occupational Licensing in Louisiana

Every Louisianan deserves the right to earn a living and pursue their chosen career without fear of artificial government roadblocks. This past legislative session, legislators took an important step forward in allowing entrepreneurship to thrive in the Pelican State without anti-competitive and arbitrary barriers established by occupational licensing boards. As of August 1st, 2022, these...

By Ryan Roberts

June Jobs Report Shows Decline in Jobs

June Jobs Report Shows Decline in Jobs

Last week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the latest state unemployment numbers. Headlines showing that the unemployment rate decreased from 4 percent to 3.8 percent might have grabbed attention, but the overall report painted a less rosy picture of the Louisiana economy. Even though the unemployment rate decreased in Louisiana, the number of people...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Groups Take Steps to Tackle Rising Crime

Groups Take Steps to Tackle Rising Crime

Families across Louisiana, as well as the whole country, are feeling the impact of rising crime rates. There’s no denying a significant problem, particularly in America’s cities, as violent and property crime rates increase to recent heights. Of course, this is not a new phenomenon. Crime rates have risen and fallen at various points throughout...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

June Job Report Suggests Economic Slowdown on Horizon

June Job Report Suggests Economic Slowdown on Horizon

Like much of the country, Louisianans have been feeling significant economic pressure with high inflation putting a strain on family budgets. Those looking to find a job to cover these extra costs have had success with job openings continuing to outpace growth in the labor force. But as the unemployment rate returns to pre-pandemic levels,...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Failures in Accountability Plague Our Assistance Programs

Failures in Accountability Plague Our Assistance Programs

Accountability in our assistance programs is essential to helping Louisiana families. The Louisiana Legislative Auditor reported that the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) failed to enforce work verification requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The TANF program issues grants to states so that they can provide financial support...

By Aly Rau

Louisiana Posts Some of the Worst Economic Performance in the Nation

Louisiana Posts Some of the Worst Economic Performance in the Nation

Just before the Independence Day holiday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released the most recent report of economic activity for states, measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The report showed that the average state’s GDP decreased by 1.6 percent and only four states had positive GDP growth. But even within this bleak picture of the...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Our Tangled Safety Net Needs an Overhaul

Our Tangled Safety Net Needs an Overhaul

The Louisiana Workforce Commission’s (LWC) mission, “put people to work”, should be made as simple as possible. Complexity in the safety net often leads to fraud and a web of requirements that ensnare people who are trying to rebuild their lives. Along with the entangled net of state programs, the LWC manages unemployment programs under...

By Ryan Roberts

Statement: Occupational Licensing Reform Signed Into Law

Statement: Occupational Licensing Reform Signed Into Law

For media inquiries please contact Ryan Roberts (504) 481-9931 or ryan@pelicaninstitute.org. Baton Rouge — CEO of the Pelican Institute, Daniel Erspamer released the following statement after Governor Edwards signed two bills that will reform Louisiana’s occupational licensing laws and restore the right to earn a living for Louisianans: “Louisiana is one of the most onerously licensed...

By Ryan Roberts

Louisianans Deserve a Fair Chance at an Occupational License

Louisianans Deserve a Fair Chance at an Occupational License

We often talk about barriers to employment and how hard it can be for people to follow their chosen career path in Louisiana. This is especially the case when it comes to people exiting the justice system. They often face ambiguous “good character” provisions that disqualify them from occupational licensure whether their conviction is directly...

By Ryan Roberts

Louisiana Driver’s License Suspensions Hurt the Poor Without Improving Safety

Louisiana Driver’s License Suspensions Hurt the Poor Without Improving Safety

The suspension of a person’s driver’s license should be a consequence of poor driving that threatens the safety of the driver or other people, not a punitive tool for non-traffic infractions. Driver’s license suspensions used to enforce non-traffic infractions are often counterintuitive due to the likelihood of negative employment effects from transportation restrictions. To pay...

By Raheem Williams