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.

Latest Jobs Report Has Bad News for Louisiana

Latest Jobs Report Has Bad News for Louisiana

This hasn’t been a year of positive news. Over the last few months, however, there have been some bright spots for Louisiana and the nation’s economies, as they have been steadily moving in the right direction. But, the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has some sobering news for those who expected...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Amendment 4 will Get Louisiana Working

Amendment 4 will Get Louisiana Working

When facing difficult financial circumstances, Louisiana families take the steps they need to rein in their spending and plan responsibly for future expenses. This is not the case when it comes to how our state currently approaches budgeting. Fortunately, Louisianans Constitutional Amendment 4, is on the Nov. 3 ballot, is offering an opportunity for Louisianans...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Damage of Louisiana’s Shutdown Becoming Clearer

Damage of Louisiana’s Shutdown Becoming Clearer

As the Louisiana legislature debates adding checks and balances to the state’s emergency powers, reports from both the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) are painting a picture of just how economically damaging the state’s shutdown has been. Let’s start with the worst news. The BEA reported Louisiana’s economy shrank...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Louisiana Lags as America Recovers

Louisiana Lags as America Recovers

The most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed the U.S. economy is about halfway to recovery. Meanwhile, Louisiana job numbers are still falling well behind the rest of the nation. Overall, the report wasn’t surprising, as it revealed employment rose by 1.4 million in the month of August while the unemployment...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Louisiana Moving to Phase 3, Statement from CEO

Louisiana Moving to Phase 3, Statement from CEO

Today, Governor John Bel Edwards announced Louisiana will begin moving into Phase 3 of the state’s economic restrictions on Friday. Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer released the following statement in response to this decision: “Gov. Edwards’ announcement today is a step in the right direction to get Louisiana working. After months of urging Louisiana leaders to...

By Daniel J. Erspamer

Protect Life and Liberty in a Pandemic

Protect Life and Liberty in a Pandemic

Did Louisiana’s government infringe on the rights of its citizens with its COVID-19 mandates? Today, the Pelican Institute released a report to answer that question and offer approaches for addressing the ongoing pandemic and future disasters while safeguarding both public health and individual liberty. In future legislative sessions, lawmakers should consider the lessons learned from...

Could Expanding Unemployment Insurance Hurt Louisiana’s Recovery?

Could Expanding Unemployment Insurance Hurt Louisiana’s Recovery?

Last week saw the release of some of best economic news for the state of Louisiana in a long time. According to the Department of Labor’s data for the week ending August 8, the number of Louisianans on unemployment insurance decreased by more than 53,000. This comes on the heels of a 27,000-person decrease during...

Pelican’s New Plan to Transform Education in Louisiana

Pelican’s New Plan to Transform Education in Louisiana

COVID-19 has taught us many lessons, but something that’s become abundantly clear in recent months is a fact that many Louisiana families and advocates have already known for a long time: our state’s education status quo is broken, and an urgent fix is required. To solve this problem, the Pelican Institute developed a comprehensive policy roadmap...

Education Savings Accounts would help Louisiana students during COVID-19

Education Savings Accounts would help Louisiana students during COVID-19

Some of Louisiana’s greatest innovations have emerged in the wake of natural disasters. Now, as we work through reopening schools, we have a new opportunity to think outside the box and solve one of our most urgent issues: empowering parents with options to choose an education that best fits their children’s individual needs. Education Savings...

Pelican Back to School Week Offers Solutions to Transform Louisiana Education

Pelican Back to School Week Offers Solutions to Transform Louisiana Education

We all remember the first day of school, but this year is clearly different than any other we’ve experienced. While some students will carry a mask and hand sanitizer along with their other usual classroom materials, many are not even getting the option of returning to the classroom. Desks and textbooks are being replaced by...

National, Local Job Trends Show Better Signs for Louisiana

National, Local Job Trends Show Better Signs for Louisiana

Over the last few weeks, a trend has emerged showing less Louisianans filing for unemployment than previous weeks. This week saw this pattern continue, with just under 10,000 people filing for unemployment, a decrease of almost 3,500 from the previous week. This was, once again, a new low since the COVID-19 pandemic began. The number...

Inaction on Extending Benefits Leading to Less Unemployment Claims

Inaction on Extending Benefits Leading to Less Unemployment Claims

Last week’s economic news presented a sobering picture of the damage caused by the lockdowns in response to COVID-19. U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell by more than nine percent, which means all of the nation’s economic growth since the end of 2014 was completely wiped out. In some better news, however, last week’s decrease...

New Report Reveals Extent of Damage from COVID-19 and Shutdowns

New Report Reveals Extent of Damage from COVID-19 and Shutdowns

Current methods for collecting economic data causes a disconnect between what people are actually feeling in their lives and the numbers being released to the public. That’s why prior to this week, we knew that COVID-19 and subsequent shutdowns have made large impacts on the American economy, but we didn’t know the full scope of...

Louisiana Can Learn from S.C.’s COVID-19 Education Plan

Louisiana Can Learn from S.C.’s COVID-19 Education Plan

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on the way our country delivers education. And while Louisianans are certainly no strangers to national disasters that upend normal life, our state has also demonstrated the importance of innovating in the face of adversity. Consider the case of Hurricane Katrina. Following the...