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Employment and Jobs

Procurement with Purpose: Improving Equity and Job Quality through Public Procurement

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The US government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, spending over $600 billion per year. Public procurement exceeds $2.1 trillion annually when state and local governments are included. These investments help create and support millions of jobs. But is this spending creating good jobs? Are contracts being awarded promoting racial and gender equity? Government agencies already often consider social impacts of procurement decisions. But as millions of jobs pay below a living wage and those posts are most commonly held by women and workers of color, more needs to be done to address the job quality crisis. Public procurement is a powerful tool that can help. The steady stream of public procurement and recent legislation, such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, are unique opportunities to more fully leverage public investments to improve job quality and address race and gender inequities in government contracting.




In this video, hear @AspenJobQuality #talkopportunity about procurement, #equity, and #jobquality with @AmySaxton6 @IrvineFdn, @paige_larae @USDOT, Tommy Smith @aboutkp, and @MarshallGenzer.

Government spends over $2 trillion on goods and services each year. But are these investments creating #goodjobs? Hear @AspenJobQuality discuss how public procurement can advance #jobquality and #equity.

Millions of jobs pay below a living wage, and are disproportionately held by women and workers of color. What role can public procurement play in addressing the #jobquality crisis? Hear @AspenJobQuality and guests #talkopportunity.

The Inflation Reduction Act and Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act are unique opportunities to promote #jobquality and equity in government contracting. How can we make the most of this moment?

When it comes to procurement, government agencies often consider the social impact of their decisions. But are they doing enough to promote racial and gender #equity for workers? Hear @AspenJobQuality and guests #talkopportunity.

Video: “Procurement with Purpose: Improving #Equity and #JobQuality through Public Procurement.” Featuring @AmySaxton6 @IrvineFdn, @paige_larae @USDOT, Tommy Smith @aboutkp, and more. Hosted by @AspenJobQuality.


Photo of Amy Saxton

Amy Saxton @AmySaxton6
Vice President of Program Development, The James Irvine Foundation @IrvineFdn

Amy Saxton joined The James Irvine Foundation in 2017 as a portfolio director and was named vice president of program development in June 2019. Amy is responsible for identifying and developing new program opportunities and relationships with public, private, nonprofit, and labor organizations. Amy brings 15 years of experience leading and advising nonprofit and philanthropic organizations to maximize their impact.

Prior to joining Irvine, Amy spent more than six years as chief executive officer with Summer Search, a national youth development nonprofit supporting students from low-income backgrounds to become college-educated leaders who give back. From 2004 to 2011, Amy was a manager at the Bridgespan Group, where she advised foundations and youth-serving nonprofits and led internal firmwide efforts to diversify the staff and create a more inclusive culture.

Amy has spoken and written about maximizing nonprofit and foundation impact, including publications in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, The Huffington Post, and The Seattle Times. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, a master’s in education from the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and a bachelor’s in English from Harvard.


Photo of Paige Shevlin

Paige Shevlin @paige_larae
Strategic Advisor for Infrastructure Workforce Development, Office of the Secretary, US Department of Transportation @USDOT

Paige Shevlin is the strategic advisor for infrastructure workforce development at the US Department of Transportation. In that role, she is responsible for implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law in a way that promotes high-quality jobs and greater diversity in the infrastructure workforce. Paige has extensive experience in federal and local government, with a focus on job training, higher education, and social insurance programs. Paige was the economic development policy advisor to the King County executive in Washington State. Paige was responsible for working with regional organizations to create economic and workforce development strategies for the county. A principal focus of her work was reallocating workforce funding to reduce racial disparities in workforce services and outcomes. Prior to her time in local government, Paige served in the Obama Administration as special assistant to the president for economic policy at the National Economic Council. She was responsible for leading the development of labor market policies including the vice president’s job-driven training initiative and policy decisions relating to regulations of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. Paige also held appointed positions at the Council of Economic Advisers and the US Department of Labor. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she was the assistant policy director at the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and an assistant analyst at the Congressional Budget Office. Paige received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Wellesley College and a master’s in public affairs from Princeton University.


Photo of Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith
Manager, Economic Impact, Impact Spending, Kaiser Permanente @aboutkp

Tommy Smith leads the economic impact strategy for Kaiser Permanente’s procurement spend. Tommy helps KP leverage its buying power to support economic development as a means of improving community health. Tommy serves as the main contact point with business units in developing strategies and programs to promote local impact purchasing and capacity building for businesses in KP’s supply chain and in KP’s communities.

Tommy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He is a veteran of the United States Navy’s Submarine Service.

Prior to his role with Impact Spending, Tommy conducted policy analysis and program evaluation in civic engagement, economic development, education, supplier diversity, and workforce training. He is a husband and father of two who in his scant free time enjoys reading, hiking, and camping.



Photo of Nancy Marshall-Genzer

Nancy Marshall-Genzer @MarshallGenzer
Correspondent, Marketplace @Marketplace

Nancy Marshall-Genzer reports on the intersection of Washington and Wall Street, explaining how the decisions made here impact your wallet.


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.

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Event information
Thu Dec 8, 2022
2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT