In the coming weeks, CSI will release a report focused on how minimum wage policy and other benefits like Medicaid impact the state, employers, and workers. More than 1 of every 4 Coloradans, is currently on Medicaid. We believe this research that will help us better quantify the costs to the state’s growing budget and how we can ensure policy incentivizes work rather than trapping individuals in dependency and benefits from the government.

Chairman and Host Earl Wright welcomes new Economic Mobility Fellow Tamra Ryan and Chief Program Officer of CrossPurpose Juan Pena to the show to discuss these issues. In a loaded episode, the three discuss how the system unintentionally disincentivizes work, the dignity of work, and how to help our citizens avoid the “benefits cliff.” Issues like these are complex, therefore a nuanced and deep discussion is warranted.

Thank you for listening to Common Sense Digest. Please rate, review, and subscribe on your favorite podcatcher. All of our podcasts can be found here.

Tamra Ryan is the CEO of Women’s Bean Project, a social enterprise providing transitional employment in its food manufacturing business to women attempting to break the cycle of chronic unemployment and poverty. She serves as an Economic Mobility Fellow for Common Sense Institute Colorado. Tamra is a former partner and board member for Social Venture Partners-Denver and Social Enterprise Alliance.

Juan Pena is the Chief Program Officer of CrossPurpose, and is passionate about helping Denver families escape poverty and pursue their dreams through our six-month career and community development program. Juan received his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Massachusetts and his Master of Divinity from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, P.A. While attending seminary, Juan worked as an engineer and planted a multiethnic, socioeconomically diverse church in the Poconos. In 2008, he moved to Denver to be a part of the elder team at Providence Bible Church.