U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, speaks in 2019 about plans to extend the Working Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The forum, hosted by the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts, took place at Valley Venture Mentors in Springfield (Jim Kinney / The Republican)

Our region’s economic resilience and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic depend on ensuring that the pathways to opportunity are open and accessible to all.

Shalonda, a single mother in Springfield, with two sons, ages 15 and 9, works as a Family Services Clinician at Square One and is also in graduate school. She recently accepted a promotion, knowing full well that it would cause her to lose her housing allowance. She says, “We’re going to have to move out and look for an apartment that we can afford. I avoided promotions for so long knowing I would lose all that support, but I’m sick of it now. For years, I had to choose between job opportunities and shopping. I couldn’t save the money. I didn’t grow up because of it.

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