Employment and Jobs

Tapping into Worker Voice to Improve Job Quality: Lessons from the Talent Pipeline Management Network

Event information

Workforce intermediaries are uniquely positioned to help workers and businesses achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. Employers desire a workforce development approach that will address their most critical pain points, whereas workers seek opportunities to advance their economic security. In recent years, a wave of organizations has worked to take a “both-and” approach. These pioneers have recognized that job retention and recruitment are often linked to poor job quality, and that worker voice and input are critical to their ability to meet the demands of a dual-customer approach.

Members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) network are among those embracing this approach and leading on job quality and worker voice. The TPM Academy equips employers and their education and workforce development partners with strategies and tools to co-design talent supply chains that connect learners and workers to jobs and career advancement opportunities. And recently, the Foundation and the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program developed a new curriculum focused on job quality to embed within the TPM Academy for businesses and business-facing organizations. The new course will be available this summer.

In this webinar, we’ll hear from two members of the TPM network — the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation Workforce Center and the Kalamazoo Literacy Council — about how they have tapped into worker voice and worked with employers to drive job quality improvements.

Featured Speakers
Jaimie Francis

Vice President of Policy and Programs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation


Jaimie M. Francis is vice president of policy and programs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Francis develops and oversees the Chamber Foundation’s programs for workforce development. She manages its Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM) initiative and its 1,000+ member National Learning Network of TPM practitioners and partners. Francis is a faculty member for the TPM Academy®, a training for state and local chamber, business association, and economic development agency leaders, as well as employers, to learn the TPM approach to drive partnerships with their education and training providers based on industry need. Earlier in her career, Francis worked for the Division of Student and Academic Support Services at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She began her career as an admissions counselor for her undergraduate alma mater, Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, where she received her Bachelor of Arts in sociology. She received her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from The George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Originally from Tallahassee, Florida, Francis lives in Maryland with her family.

Michael Evans

Executive Director
Kalamazoo Literacy Council


Michael Evans participated in the Career Readiness TPM Academy of Michigan in 2022. He is Executive Director of the Kalamazoo Literacy Council (KLC) and has been with the organization since August 2010. He is charged with bringing area adult literacy programs together to better coordinate services for adults wanting to learn how to read or improve their literacy skills. He works daily to raise awareness of adult literacy issues in the community and to gather more support to this cause. 

Evans is the facilitator of the Adult Literacy Collaborative of Kalamazoo County, which serves as a forum to determine adult literacy priorities, identify and expand resources, and align services and programs in the county. He serves as the Co-Director of the Adult Literacy Research and Training Symposium, which is hosted annually in collaboration with Western Michigan University (WMU). He serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education (MACAE), Family & Children Services, the Institutional Review Board of the WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine, the WMU Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations Advisory Board, Co-Chair of the Advisory Board for the WMU Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, and the WMU Literacy Studies/TESOL Advisory Board. He served as Vice-Chair of the Region 8 Regional Prosperity Initiative for the State of Michigan. Before coming to the KLC, Evans worked for 15 years in the nonprofit sector in Battle Creek with several organizations including Community Inclusive Recreation, Summit Pointe, New Level Sports among others. He was Executive Director of Heritage Battle Creek and the Sojourner Truth Institute of Battle Creek and served on many statewide boards including the Michigan Humanities Council, the Michigan Freedom Trail Commission, and the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies. Prior to entering the nonprofit sector, he was a staff writer for the Kalamazoo Gazette. He earned his bachelor’s degree at WMU where he majored in English and Communications.

Laurie Mays

Agriculture and Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager
Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Laurie Mays joined the Chamber as the Agriculture and Equine Talent Pipeline Project Manager in September of 2018 and works cooperatively with the equine and agriculture industries to bridge the skilled workforce gap in those industries in Kentucky. Before her time there, she held the roles of Operations Manager and Director of Youth and Community Education at the Kentucky Horse Park, where she was instrumental in developing and implementing countless programs. Most recently, Mays developed a nationally recognized equine program in conjunction with the United States Pony Clubs at Locust Trace AgriScience Center, a world-renowned agricultural high school. By understanding the industry through these endeavors, Mays is working statewide with employers, educators, and other agriculture stakeholders to develop a talent pipeline to ensure a consistent, skilled labor pool.   

Growing up in the local saddle clubs, Mays converted to eventing in high school, had a short stint with roping in Texas, and now enjoys working cattle on her family farm while competing in agility with her Standard Poodle. She earned a B.S. in Animal Science from Clemson University, an M.S. in Agriculture from West Texas A&M, and an M.A. in Teaching from Eastern Kentucky University. With their children, she and her husband reside on a beef cattle and hair sheep farm in Bourbon Co, KY.

Matt HelmerMatt Helmer

Managing Director,
Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute

Matt Helmer is the managing director at the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and re-joined the program in April 2022. Matt’s work focuses on developing research, conversations, narratives, and tools that advance job quality, economic security, and race and gender equity for workers with low- and moderate-incomes. Matt helps curate EOP’s Opportunity in America discussion series, oversee the Job Quality Center of Excellence, and lead EOP’s work on employee ownership. He also facilitates leadership development programs and manages various research projects. Matt is the author of numerous research publications, issue briefs, case studies, and book chapters. His writing has been featured in The Hill and Fast Company. He worked for the Institute’s Workforce Strategies Initiative (WSI) from 2009 to 2014. With WSI, Matt researched community college and nonprofit partnerships and construction pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, facilitated the Sector Skills Academy, and supported the Reinventing Low-Wage Work and Working in America discussion series.

Before rejoining the Institute in 2022, Matt worked for the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA), where he led a team of analysts and project managers charged with advancing the agency’s strategic priorities. Matt helped lead the development and implementation of workforce development and asset building programs, eviction prevention strategies, and trauma-informed practice Before joining SHA, Matt was a senior policy analyst at the Seattle Jobs Initiative, where he evaluated workforce development programs and conducted research on job quality and economic development issues in the Seattle region. Prior to coming to the Institute in 2009, Matt worked for a local nonprofit in Seattle supporting immigrants and refugees, served in Damascus as a senior English language fellow for the US State Department, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tonga. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in teaching English to speakers of other languages from Southern Illinois University and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington. Matt lives outside Seattle with his wife and two sons and enjoys spending time with them exploring the beaches, mountains, and forests of the Pacific Northwest.

This event is part of the Economic Opportunities Program’s Job Quality in Practice series, which examines the strategies and approaches practitioners are using to improve job quality and expand economic opportunity.

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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.