Aspen Institute Releases New Resources to Strengthen Job Quality Across the United States

June 25, 2020

The Job Quality Tools Library is designed to help organizations create a more equitable economy that values and provides opportunity for all workers

Contact: Jon Purves
Senior Media Relations Manager
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, June 25, 2020– The Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute has developed a Job Quality Tools Library to support leaders, working in a variety of fields related to economic opportunity, to engage in practical action to improve jobs and create more equitable employment opportunities and workplace practices. The library offers tools, resources, and guidance to help leaders strengthen job quality in their own organizations, in the businesses they partner with, and across labor markets.

Available online, the library collects the work of many organizations and leaders in the field who are pioneering new approaches to quality jobs and creating resources to help others. The project was made possible through the generous support of Prudential Financial.

The library acknowledges the reality that the employment landscape for workers has changed dramatically following the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the library gathers tools and resources developed by a range of organizations that cover topics of great concern to workers and employers, such as equity and inclusion, health and safety, benefits eligibility, and mental well-being.

The library also recognizes and underscores the clear connection between access to economic opportunity and racial injustice. For example frontline workers in many essential jobs that pay low wages are disproportionately women and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. Increasing wages and addressing other workplace practices to improve employment stability and quality represent a key step in addressing economic disparities across race and gender. Equity and inclusion tools in the library can help employers assess inequities in their organizations and design proactive workforce policies and programs to address these disparities.

“We are thrilled to introduce the Job Quality Tools Library at this critical time,” said Maureen Conway, Aspen Institute vice president and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. “It is our hope that the library can serve as a guide to an economy that protects and supports the workers who sustain it. The library is inspired by and draws upon the work of many colleagues, from disciplines that range from business advising to labor organizing, who are committed to advancing quality jobs and reducing systemic inequities in our economy and society. We are grateful to them for their contributions and look forward to continued collaboration to address the urgent need for quality jobs.”

“In order to build toward a more equitable future, it is critical to address the disparities that currently exist in our labor market,” Sarah Keh, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Prudential Financial. “By partnering with the Aspen Institute on the Job Quality Tools Library, we will provide resources and tools for leaders to adopt fair and just labor practices so that all American households can reach financial security.”

The library is designed to be an easily accessible and practical resource and to accommodate the needs of a variety of organizations, whether they are new to addressing job quality in their work or experienced practitioners. Separate sections address the following topics:

  • Understanding and defining job quality
  • Assessing job quality in an organization
  • Building capacity to engage businesses in conversations about job quality
  • Addressing specific job quality attributes: wages, benefits, scheduling, working conditions, opportunity to build skills and advance, supportive work environment, worker voice, and equity and inclusion
  • Institutionalizing job quality practices over time

The Job Quality Tools Library was conceived from a longstanding recognition among Economic Opportunities Program staff that the U.S. economy has for decades been creating large and growing numbers of work opportunities that are inadequate to sustain workers, families, and communities. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, roughly a quarter of working adults were paid wages too low to lift a small family above the poverty line. Decades of eroding benefits, declining employment security, unpredictable scheduling practices, and limited advancement opportunities have left millions of Americans in unstable jobs. Structural inequality has created disparities for workers of color and women, which the current health and economic crisis is exacerbating. Improving job quality is essential to achieving economic stability among individuals and families and lifting regional economies experiencing stagnation.


The Economic Opportunities Program at the Aspen Institute (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.

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

During the COVID-19 crisis, the Aspen Institute is adapting to address the challenges of the pandemic. Learn more about some of the solutions we’re proposing, the actions we’re taking, and the changemakers we’re supporting.

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