Steven L. Dawson to Join Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program as Senior Fellow

November 30, 2015

For Immediate Release
Contact: Claire Daviss
Communications Associate
Economic Opportunities Program, The Aspen Institute
202-736-3578 |

Steven L. Dawson to Join Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program as Senior Fellow

Mr. Dawson will collaborate with Aspen Institute Vice President Maureen Conway on low-income job quality issues


Washington, DC, November 30, 2015 The Aspen Institute announced today that Steven L. Dawson, founder and strategic advisor for the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), will join the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program as a Senior Fellow to focus on low-income job quality strategies. Mr. Dawson has co-authored several articles on low wage workforce issues with Aspen Institute leadership, including “Build Ladders and Raise the Floor” and “Sectoral Strategies for Low-Income Workers” with Aspen Institute Vice President Maureen Conway, and “Jobs and the Urban Poor” with Aspen Institute Vice President of Policy Programs Peggy Clark.

“Steve is a leader in multiple spheres – in healthcare, in workforce development, in cooperative business development, in policy analysis and advocacy – and he has a unique ability to work across these professional worlds to build understanding and create change,” said Maureen Conway, vice president at the Aspen Institute and executive director of the Economic Opportunities Program. “We are fortunate that Steve is bringing his strategic vision and practical experience, as well as his deep commitment to reducing poverty and expanding economic opportunity to the work we are doing here at the Aspen Institute.”

As its founding president for 20 years, Mr. Dawson guided PHI to become a nationally respected healthcare workforce intermediary, pioneering new practices in the home care and long term care that demonstrate the vital connection between quality jobs and quality care. Under his leadership, PHI grew into an $8 million organization with a staff of 35, securing quality care for elders and people living with disabilities, by developing quality jobs for our nation’s four million direct-care workers. PHI is the nonprofit affiliate of the worker-owned Cooperative Home Care Associates (CHCA), which employs over 2,000 home care aides in New York City — the largest worker cooperative in the United States—and which trains over 600 inner-city women annually.

Recently Mr. Dawson co-chaired the NYC Workforce Strategy Group’s “Re-envisioning the New York City Workforce System,” and was a member of Mayor de Blasio’s Jobs for New Yorkers Workforce Task Force. In 1978, he founded the Industrial Cooperative Association (now The ICA Group), which consults to worker- and community-owned enterprises. In 2013, Mr. Dawson was inducted into the National Cooperative Hall of Fame for his decades of leadership in developing low-income worker cooperatives.

In collaboration with Maureen Conway within the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, Mr. Dawson will research, write and advise on strategies to help low-wage workers not only climb career ladders, but just as importantly, help re-design and improve poor-quality jobs.

The Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) is a policy program at the Aspen Institute whose primary mission is to advance promising strategies and policies to help low- and moderate-income Americans succeed in today’s dynamic economy. Led from the Institute’s headquarters in Washington, DC, EOP is composed of three related initiatives: the Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning, and Dissemination (FIELD), Skills for America’s Future, and the Workforce Strategies Initiative (AspenWSI). Learn more at

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit


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