November 30, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Conor McKay
Director, Future of Work Initiative
202-736-3514 | conor.mckay@aspeninstitute.org

Aspen Institute Launches New Initiative on
Future of Work and Capitalism

Initiative to Find Consensus on Policy Solutions to 21st Century Workforce and Workplace Issues

 

Washington, DC, November 30, 2015 --Today, the Aspen Institute launched the Future of Work Initiative, a year-long nonpartisan effort to identify concrete ways to strengthen the social contract in the midst of sweeping changes in the 21st-century workplace and workforce. The Initiative will focus on two challenges in particular: first, how best to advance and protect the economic interests of Americans in the rapidly growing economy of shared goods and services; and second, how best to inspire a 21st-century capitalism for a 21st-century workforce by incenting employers to help workers get ahead.

The Future of Work Initiative is built in the spirit of nonpartisanship and collaboration, as it looks to find consensus on common sense policy solutions. Senator Mark Warner from Virginia and Purdue President Mitch Daniels, former Governor of Indiana, will serve as Honorary Co-Chairs. Bruce Reed and John Bridgeland, who headed the Domestic Policy Council under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, respectively, will serve as Co-Chairs. Conor McKay, formerly chief of staff of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles debt reduction commission, will be the Initiative's Director.

"Innovation is transforming the future of work," said Senator Warner. "In the 1950s, when workers planned their future around a single company and line of work, leaders of business, labor, and policy built a social contract around protections and benefits provided by an individual's employer. Today, we need to modernize that contract to meet the needs of a changing workplace. We should work together to build a more portable system of benefits and protections, and do more to incent companies to do right by their workers."

"Dramatic changes in business models, coupled with an underperforming national economy, have called into question the support arrangements Americans have relied on for decades," said Governor Daniels. "It remains to be seen what arrangements should take their place. Senator Warner has been at the forefront of thinking on these vexing questions, and I look forward to joining the Senator in pursuing answers."

"The Institute's launch of its Future of Work Initiative is an important contribution to how we as a nation plan to deal with safeguarding and advancing the economic interests of American workers well into the 21st Century, while enabling more of our businesses to do well by doing good," said Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson. "These are not left-right issues – they are future-past issues. We are thrilled to have both Sen. Mark Warner and former Gov. Mitch Daniels serving as honorary chairs of this initiative. And with the adept leadership of the bipartisan team of co-chairs Bruce Reed, John Bridgeland, and director Conor McKay, we expect this Initiative to play a vital role in elevating the public debate, finding consensus among diverse stakeholders, and charting a path forward."

About the Aspen Institute

The Future of Work Initiative is a year-long nonpartisan effort to identify concrete ways to strengthen the social contract in the midst of sweeping changes in the 21st-century workplace and workforce. The Initiative will focus on two challenges in particular: first, how best to advance and protect the economic interests of Americans in the rapidly growing economy of shared goods and services; and second, how best to inspire a 21st-century capitalism for a 21st-century workforce by incenting employers to help workers get ahead.

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

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