Aspen Institute Launches Job Quality Center of Excellence to Improve the Experience of Work

November 17, 2021

New platform to drive improved job quality and economic dignity for workers through deep stakeholder engagement, idea generation, and resource sharing


Contact: Adrienne Lee
Senior Communications Manager
Economic Opportunities Program 

Washington, DC, November 17, 2021 – Today, the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program launched the Job Quality Center of Excellence, a new platform to drive improved job quality and economic dignity for workers through deep stakeholder engagement, idea generation, and resource sharing to equip leaders across sectors and at all levels to act. With the pandemic highlighting the burdens on low-income workers – particularly women, immigrants, and workers of color – it’s clearer than ever that the US faces a job quality crisis. This large and growing pool of low-quality jobs not only hurts workers, but also our economy, society, and our aspirations as a country.

The Job Quality Center of Excellence is made possible with support from long-time partner, Prudential Financial, whose purpose is to make lives better by solving the challenges of our changing world. Additional supporters include the Families and Workers Fund, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.

For too long, public policies and local programs aimed at expanding opportunity for low-income individuals and families have relied on social services and supports. These services are important for meeting the immediate needs of individuals and families, but they leave the larger challenge – an employment system that is increasingly reliant on low-quality jobs – unaddressed.

“It’s time for a paradigm shift,” said Maureen Conway, Aspen Institute vice president and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. “We need to focus on fixing work rather than fixing workers. Employers, investors, leaders of social programs, policymakers, philanthropy – we can all play a role in improving the quality of jobs. We are pleased to present the Job Quality Center of Excellence to engage leaders across sectors and at all levels in addressing the urgent need for quality jobs.”

These resources include:

  • Examples and exemplars: Profiles of individuals and organizations who are innovating to improve job quality.
  • Practical tools: Resources and guides geared to a variety of contexts to improve the quality of jobs.
  • Inclusive conversations: Public and private dialogue engaging diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise to understand issues, explore ideas, and encourage action.
  • Research and resources: Publications exploring promising policy ideas, evaluations of innovative programmatic practices, information about job quality concepts, metrics, and trends, and more.

“At Prudential, we work to close the financial divide through inclusive workplaces and accelerating economic mobility for all, and we know that job quality and financial wellness is possible for all workers if employers, policymakers, and stakeholders have the tools and the determination to act,” said Sarah Keh, Vice President, Inclusive Solutions. “That’s why, as part of our work with the Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy, we are deepening our partnership with the Aspen Institute on the Job Quality Center of Excellence to advance job quality and help working people to move from financial fragility toward resilience, stability, mobility, and prosperity.”

The Center draws on work of the Economic Opportunities Program as well as the work of a wide range of organizations that have been innovating and experimenting to improve job quality. We encourage people to turn to the Center not only as a source for information and ideas, but also as a forum for sharing fresh approaches. If you have tools, resources, or ideas to share, we’d love to hear from you! Please contact us at

To continue the conversation around job quality and the urgency of tackling these challenges, we encourage you to engage with us using the #jobquality hashtag and share content from our social media action page.




The 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. For more information, visit:

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

The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy (APIE) unites the Aspen Institute’s deep subject matter expertise, extensive leadership initiatives, and varied public programming  across the Institute to improve opportunity and equity in our global economy and to create the conditions in which all can thrive.

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