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Employment and Jobs

Opportunity by Design: A Discussion on Growing Worker Skills and Talent in the Workplace

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Training and learning opportunities are an important part of the design of any job. Frontline workers recently rated job growth and learning opportunities in the top three things they want in a job. Many workers, however, receive little, if any, training from their employers. This lack of investment in workers’ skills impedes workers’ opportunities for advancement, trapping many in a cycle of dead-end, low-quality jobs where women and people of color make up a disproportionate number of workers. For businesses and employers, failing to invest in workers is also costly. In addition to a disengaged workforce, many employers face high turnover when they do not invest in their workers. In the past year, the top reason workers globally left their jobs was due to a lack of career development and advancement opportunities. Businesses that invest in workers’ skills development and design jobs with work-based learning (WBL) opportunities, however, offer a more promising path.

When designed well, work-based learning provides a number of benefits to workers and businesses. WBL approaches such as apprenticeship, on-the-job training, and other forms of employer-sponsored training can offer workers the opportunity for upward mobility and the chance to earn and learn at the same time while employers gain a more engaged and skilled workforce. Too often though the frontline workers who could benefit the most from work-based learning do not receive the opportunity. How can businesses design jobs that include quality work-based learning that improves opportunity for workers and business outcomes? What barriers and opportunities do employers face in creating apprenticeship and other work-based learning models, particularly for front-line workers? What can we do to equitably expand work-based learning to workers who need it the most?

This is the second conversation in our three-part series, The Job Quality Choice: Opportunities and Challenges in Job Design.


In this video, hear @AspenJobQuality #talkopportunity about skills, training, and opportunity with @daniel_bustillo @HCAPinc, Jocelyn Caldwell @Walmart, Kim Gregorie @jpmorgan, @ostermanpaul @MITSloan, and @abhabhattarai.

A top reason many employees leave their jobs is a lack of training and advancement. How can firms invest in workers to improve retention and business performance? Hear @AspenJobQuality and guests #talkopportunity in this video.

Failing to invest in employees leaves many workers trapped in a cycle of low-quality jobs. How can we design jobs to boost equity, learning, and advancement? Hear @AspenJobQuality and guests #talkopportunity in this video.

Many workers could benefit from training, but too few receive the opportunity from their employer. How can we expand work-based learning to those who need it most? Hear @AspenJobQuality and guests #talkopportunity in this video.

Video: Growing Worker Skills and Talent in the Workplace. Feat @daniel_bustillo @HCAPinc, Jocelyn Caldwell @Walmart, Kim Gregorie @jpmorgan, @ostermanpaul @MITSloan, and @abhabhattarai. Hosted by @AspenJobQuality.

Read the Brief

Employment and Jobs
Quality Jobs Are a Choice: Why We Need to Think About Job Design
September 7, 2022 • Economic Opportunities Program


Photo of Daniel Bustillo

Daniel Bustillo @daniel_bustillo
Executive Director, Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP) @HCAPinc; Job Quality Fellow, The Aspen Institute

Daniel Bustillo is executive director of the Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP), a national organization of SEIU locals and healthcare employers who are partnering in support of developing quality healthcare career education models for high-road jobs that increase equity in the healthcare workforce. During his time at H-CAP, Daniel has led numerous policy and programmatic initiatives designed to support healthcare workers and caregivers, such as the Center for Advancing Racial Equity and Job Quality in Long-Term Care. As director of the National Center for Healthcare Apprenticeships, he has played a leading role in developing Registered Apprenticeships in healthcare across the nation over the past six years.

Prior to joining H-CAP, Daniel was an assistant director with the 1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds, which provides training, job placement, and quality improvement programs to over 700 healthcare employers and 250,000 workers in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington DC, and Florida.

Daniel presently serves as a member of the US Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Apprenticeships, sits on the board of directors for the National Skills Coalition, and is a 2022-23 Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellow.


Photo of Jocelyn Caldwell

Jocelyn B. Caldwell, Ed.S.
VP, Workforce Strategy and Organizational Growth, Walmart @Walmart

Jocelyn is a senior leader with experience leading organizational transformations and deploying talent strategies within culturally diverse environments. She refers to herself as an “institutionalist,” one who believes institutions can both be profitable and have positive impacts on society. She is passionate about providing skills, opportunity, and access to this and the next generation of the workforce.

Jocelyn currently leads the workforce strategy and organizational growth at Walmart, where she defines and optimizes the workforce and organization required to deliver Walmart’s business strategy. Previously, she held the position of Talent Partner for Sam’s Club, where she led, defined, and drove the talent strategy for their associates.

Jocelyn joined Walmart from TIAA, where she held the position of Vice President, Talent Acquisition and Workforce Strategy and HR Strategy and Planning. She also was responsible for identifying and leading transformation initiatives to increase efficiency and effectiveness, while reducing costs and risks across TIAA. Prior to joining TIAA, Jocelyn helped to build the university-wide institutional effectiveness capability at Howard University. Jocelyn also held a series of positions of increasing responsibility and complexity during her tenure at The South Carolina Retirement Systems, Westinghouse Nuclear Fuel, and General Electric. She is a certified Six Sigma Black Belt and Project Management Professional.

She has served on the advisory board for the Center of Applied Business Analytics at the University of South Carolina, the Clemson University Black Alumni Council, and the Clemson University Board of Visitors. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and The National Smart Set, The Links, Inc.

Jocelyn and her husband, Darryl, have two sons and currently reside in Columbia, South Carolina.


Photo of Kim Gregorie

Kim Gregorie
Head of the Business and Program Office for Talent Development and the Global Career Experience, JPMorgan Chase & Co. @jpmorgan

Kim serves as the head of the Business and Program Office for Talent Development and the Global Career Experience. She is a senior executive and transformational business leader who brings a record of success in driving high impact learning and human capital management programs at the top levels of a global business. In this role, Kim leads cross-sector engagement with higher education external partnerships while consulting with talent executives and internal senior business leaders to identify and apply best-in-class learning solutions in support of JPMorgan employee job proficiency, career development, and future of work readiness objectives.

In her 23 years with the firm, Kim has established herself as an accomplished change agent and leader who operates effectively in dynamic environments. Prior to her current role, Kim held a variety of leadership positions in consumer banking, including district manager and regional wholesaler manager, and she supported various strategic special assignments.

Kim was awarded an MBA from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business and a bachelor’s degree from the University of the Pacific. She also completed training at the T. Boone Pickens Leadership Institute. Kim also serves as the HR Learning Lead for the DFW market and is a member of WOTM and PRIDE Business Resource Groups.

A California native, Kim resides in Dallas, and in her free time, she enjoys riding her Peloton, entertaining, playing golf with her teenage son, and finding activities to give back to the local community.


Paul Osterman

Paul Osterman @ostermanpaul
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor of Human Resources and Management, MIT Sloan School of Management @MITSloan

Paul Osterman is the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Professor of Human Resources and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management as well as a member of the Department of Urban Planning at MIT. From July 2003 to June 2007, he also served as deputy dean at the MIT Sloan School. His research concerns changes in work organization within companies, career patterns and processes within firms, economic development, urban poverty, and public policy surrounding skills training and employment programs.

Osterman has been a senior administrator of job training programs for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and has consulted widely for government agencies, foundations, community groups, firms, and public interest organizations.

His most recent book is “Who Will Care For Us: Long Term Care and the Long Term Workforce.” Other recent books include “Good Jobs America: Making Work Better for Everyone”; “The Truth About Middle Managers: Who They Are, How They Work, How They Matter”; “Gathering Power: The Future of Progressive Politics in America”; “Securing Prosperity: The American Labor Market: How It Has Changed and What to Do About It”; and “Working In America: A Blueprint for the New Labor Market.”

Osterman is also the author of “Employment Futures: Reorganization, Dislocation, and Public Policy”; “Getting Started: The Youth Labor Market”; “The Mutual Gains Enterprise: Forging a Winning Partnership Among Labor, Management, and Government”; and “Change At Work.” He is the editor of two books, “Internal Labor Markets” and “Broken Ladders: Managerial Careers in the New Economy.” In addition, he has written numerous academic journal articles and policy issue papers on topics such as labor market policy, the organization of work within firms, careers, job training programs, economic development, and anti-poverty programs.



Photo of Abha Bhattarai

Abha Bhattarai @abhabhattarai
Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post @washingtonpost

Abha Bhattarai is the economics correspondent at The Washington Post, where she writes about housing, jobs, inequality, and workers’ issues. She was previously the Post’s retail reporter and won a Gerald Loeb Award for her coverage of essential workers on the frontlines of the pandemic. Abha is a graduate of Northwestern University.

The Job Quality Choice: Opportunities and Challenges in Job Design

Each day, approximately 160 million people in the US go to work. Many of them will work in a job or workplace designed to meet the needs of the employer with little thought given to what employees may need to be successful, or how the success of employers and workers are connected. The results of our country’s collective approach to job design are well documented at this point. Almost one-third of workers in the US – a disproportionate number of whom are women and people of color – earn less than $15 an hour, and over 50% of the jobs projected to be created between 2020 and 2030 will pay less than a living wage. But, wages are just one part of job design. Many of these low-paying jobs also don’t offer personal fulfillment, opportunities for worker input and voice, advancement, skills development, benefits, or other qualities of good jobs.

The evidence is also clear that bad jobs resulting from poor job design are not inevitable, but are reflective of choices we make. Employers in every industry and across every occupation have demonstrated that designing good jobs is possible and beneficial to workers and employers. What can these employers and businesses teach us about job design? What incentivizes and inhibits the design of quality jobs? And what role does philanthropy and government have in helping employers to design good jobs? Join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program for this mini-series, The Job Quality Choice: Opportunities and Challenges in Job Design, where we will explore the drivers of job design, examine current challenges and opportunities around issues such as technology, skills development, and worker voice, and discuss strategies and practices that create good jobs that help workers and businesses succeed together.

Opportunity in America

Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program, considers the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country. The series highlights the ways in which issues of race, gender, and place exacerbate our economic divides, and ideas and innovations with potential to address these challenges and broaden access to quality opportunity.

We are grateful to Prudential Financial, Walmart, the Surdna Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Bloomberg, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their support of this series.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

Event information
Wed Sep 14, 2022
2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT