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The Next Big Idea: Portable Benefits for Independent Workers

This event features a series of panel discussions with key voices in the conversation around independent workers, in the on-demand economy and beyond. Senator Mark Warner, honorary co-chair of the Future of Work Initiative, joins the discussion. The event was hosted by Bruce Reed and John Bridgeland, co-chairs of the Future of Work Initiative, and Maureen Conway, Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program. The event’s panels also feature a number of signatories of the November 10, 2015 letter to lawmakers agreeing to principles on portable benefits for independent workers, including business representatives, worker advocates, and thought leaders.


Thomas E. Perez, US Secretary of Labor

Senator Mark Warner, US Senator from the Commonwealth of Virginia andHonorary co-chair, the Future of Work Initiative

Bruce Reed, Co-chair, the Future of Work Initiative

John Bridgeland, Co-chair, the Future of Work Initiative

Maureen Conway, Vice President of the Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Economic Opportunities Program

Ida Rademacher, Executive Director of the Financial Security Initiative

Two Panels to Include:

  • Byron Auguste, Managing Director, Opportunity@Work
  • Oisin Hanrahan, CEO, Handy
  • Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum
  • Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman, and CEO,
  • David Rolf, President, SEIU 775
  • Anne-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation
  • Saket Soni, Executive Director, National Guestworker Alliance
  • Arun Sundararajan, Professor and the Robert L. and Dale Atkins Rosen Faculty Fellow at New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business
  • Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History at the University of Virginia and Senior Adviser to the Markle Foundation

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 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.

The Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) is a policy program at the Aspen Institute whose primary mission is to advance promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans succeed in today’s dynamic economy. Led from the Institute’s headquarters in Washington, DC, EOP is composed of three related initiatives: the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning, and Dissemination (FIELD), Skills for America’s Future, and the Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI). Learn more at

This event explores the challenges and opportunities presented by the sharing or on-demand economy, including how we might adapt the social contract for workers in America in the wake of sweeping shifts in the economy.

Event information
Wed Dec 16, 2015
1:30pm - 4:00pm
The Aspen Institute
One Dupont Circle, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036, United States