Americans place a high value on work and believe hard work should offer a pathway to economic security. But decades of lagging wages, eroding benefits, and declining employment security means that too many jobs do not match that vision of work as a pathway to an economically stable life. Many see this as the central issue leading to the erosion of the middle class. To restore the ideal of work as the pathway to the American Dream, our economy needs more quality jobs.
In communities across the country, there are leaders innovating to address this quality jobs challenge. We have seen strategies in economic development, workforce development and business consulting that encourage higher quality jobs. We have seen local officials building policies to encourage and reward higher quality jobs. We have seen traditional and nontraditional labor organizations advancing new strategies and collaborating with employers to improve job quality. And we have seen business leaders and social entrepreneurs develop innovative models that create higher quality jobs.
To support these innovations and encourage even more, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is delighted to announce the new Job Quality Fellowship. This fellowship will bring together innovators from differing lines of work who are engaged in work that expands the availability of better quality jobs in our economy.
We are grateful to the Ford Foundation and The Prudential Foundation for their support of this work.