The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program Applauds Bipartisan Focus on Employee Ownership

May 24, 2023

The Aspen Institute will co-host the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum on June 14-15th, 2023

Contact: Matt Helmer
Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, May 24, 2023 – This month, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida introduced the Employee Equity Investment Act, to support the growth of employee ownership. The bill, which builds on recent legislative successes, like the WORK Act, will expand Small Business Administration financing for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to transition to employee ownership. The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) has supported dialogue, convenings and rigorous research in its investigation of the role employee ownership can play in creating access to high quality economic opportunities for people across the U.S. The program finds employee ownership can make a meaningful difference in retaining businesses and jobs in communities, improving job quality, mitigating the racial and gender wealth gaps, and increasing the resilience and strength of the U.S. economy. 

In addition to Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md) , the Employee Equity Investment Act is cosponsored by a bipartisan coalition, including Democratic Senator Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Republican Senator Mike Braun of Indiana, Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Republican Senator Todd Young of Indiana.

Maureen Conway, vice president of the Aspen Institute and executive director of EOP, issued the following statement:

“Workers are central to our economy’s success, but they are too often left without a share in the country’s prosperity. Many workers remain in jobs with low pay and few opportunities for advancement or wealth building. Employee ownership has the potential to address these challenges and to create the kinds of opportunities that support thriving individuals, families and communities.

In addition to hosting frequent dialogues on employee ownership, EOP and partners from the Democracy at Work Institute and the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University convened a cross-sector roundtable in 2021. Through that roundtable and research, we found that employee ownership can increase wages and wealth for workers, especially women and people of color. And because many employee-owned companies have a culture that values worker voice, jobs in employee-owned companies can afford workers greater dignity and satisfaction.

Millions of retiring owners are seeking to pass their businesses on to the next generation. Transitioning ownership to those most invested in their continued success, the workers, holds tremendous promise for improving jobs, increasing wealth for millions of Americans, and strengthening business performance and competitiveness. A structural shift to create more employee-owned companies will help realize what we at EOP strive for: an economy based on good jobs, shared prosperity, and equity.”

Today, 14 million employees benefit from participation in employee stock ownership plans, and a large, bipartisan majority of Americans would prefer to work for an employee-owned company. EOP will continue to support a robust, national conversation on employee ownership. Please join us on June 14 and 15 for the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum, a two-day event co-hosted with the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing in Washington DC.

Find out more and sign up for in-person or virtual attendance (day one / day two).

Contact: Members of the media interested in interviewing Maureen should contact Matt Helmer at


The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low-and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. We recognize that race, gender, and place intersect with and intensify the challenge of economic inequality and we address these dynamics by advancing an inclusive vision of economic justice. For over 25 years, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity. Learn more at at

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

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