In communities across the country, there are leaders innovating to address our economy’s need for more quality jobs. We have seen leaders in private enterprise, public agencies, and nonprofit organizations working within and beyond their institutions and across a variety of fields and disciplines to encourage higher quality jobs. Last year, with the inspiration of these innovators and the support of The Prudential Foundation and the Ford Foundation, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program launched the Job Quality Fellowship. We are now seeking nominations for our second class of Job Quality Fellows.
The American Dream is premised on the principle that if you work hard, you should at least get by, if not get ahead, and your children should have the opportunity to succeed. But we know that in today’s labor market far too many hard-working people struggle to make ends meet. And what’s worse, many watch their children earn even less and struggle even more. In big cities and small towns across the country, the job market is offering people work — but not enough good work to sustain themselves, their families, and their communities.
This challenge of quality work is an extraordinarily difficult problem to address, but last year we called for nominations of leaders working in local communities who are taking on this daunting challenge and received an outstanding response. We had the immense privilege of choosing to work with these 16 Aspen Institute Job Quality Fellows documenting their work, connecting them to each other to engage in peer learning, and beginning to build a new vision and language for discussing ideas to address challenges in the world of work. They are a diverse group of innovators and social entrepreneurs representing fields of business and business finance, worker advocacy and labor organizing, education and training, community and economic development, and more. They are all engaged in work that expands the availability of and access to better quality jobs, with specific attention to equity and inclusion.
We are impressed with the accomplishments and experience of the inaugural cohort of Fellows and are very pleased to announce a call for nominations for a second round in 2018-2019. We are seeking to recruit a similarly diverse group of practice-based leaders. While we see great value to policy analysis, research, and evaluation efforts, those are not within the Job Quality Fellowship call at this time. Please nominate leaders you know that are innovating at the practitioner’s level to improve job quality. (And yes, that leader can be you!) Eligible nominees will receive additional information and an application for the Fellowship on May 31, 2018. Complete Job Quality Fellowship applications will be due June 26, 2018.
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