We are pleased to bring you the latest edition of the Economic Opportunities Program’s newsletter! Learn how the Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) and its initiatives are driving change and helping low- and moderate-income Americans connect to and thrive in a changing economy.
Crafting Better Conversations with Businesses
In working with workforce development professionals over the past two decades, we learned that many struggle to build relationships with business representatives. To help address this, we developed a Question Bank Tool that aims to craft the type of learning-focused conversations that we’ve seen underpin more active relationships with retail business representatives. The Bank includes questions to help you get to know a retailer, understand the business and its workforce, and learn about practices related to employee engagement, development, advancement, and compensation and scheduling.
Exploring the Potential of Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones have the potential to spur new investment in some of the most distressed communities in the country. While the overall economy is strong, many areas have yet to recover from the Great Recession, further widening economic divides across race, place, ethnicity, and gender. With this in mind, we hosted a discussion, “Opportunity Zones and the Challenge of Addressing our Economic Divides,” on how communities can ensure that these investments meet their needs and support prosperity for local residents. Panelists reviewed the current status of the Opportunity Funds and plans for investment, and discussed strategies for communities, governments, and investors to work together to create opportunities for entrepreneurship, quality jobs, and wealth building for local communities.
Cooking up New Businesses in Chicago
Seeing the same challenge of uneven opportunity in Chicago, one member of the Microfinance Impact Collaborative united with public, private, and social sector organizations in pursuit of a new solution. In a blog post, Brad McConnell, CEO of Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana, shares how his organization worked with local partners to launch The Hatchery. This innovative incubator brings business expertise under the same roof as cooking facilities, giving food entrepreneurs the resources to launch or expand businesses and creating new job opportunities for local residents.
Looking for America’s Missing 2.5 Million Women Workers
By many metrics, the economy is running hot. Businesses are regularly complaining of a worker or skill shortage. But are we at full employment? A closer look at key statistics suggests that there should be millions more women in the labor force. In their latest blog post, Maureen Conway and Mark Popovich explore why women’s labor force participation is lagging and this disparity’s implications. The blog post takes a close look at why these women may be missing from the workforce, how the US lags in its policies to support working women, and calls for solutions to end pay disparities, discrimination, and workplace harassment.
Helping Businesses Make the Most of Upskilling
More employers are seeing the value in offering free or low-cost college tuition to their employees, which helps create opportunities for advancement and offers a benefit that can make them an attractive employer. UpSkill America Director Jaime Fall was recently quoted in a U.S. News & World Report article about the value of these programs and how employers can make the most of them. We’re excited to continue to advance the upskilling movement; for tools to help you get started on developing or improving your business’s programs, visit the UpSkill America site.
Supporting Workforce Development Leaders in New Jersey
Applications are now open for the Hudson County Workforce Leadership Academy. The Academy will launch in June 2019 and run until March 2019. Sponsored in partnership with Hudson County Community College, the Academy brings together senior-level managers from nonprofit organizations, business associations, union-based training efforts, public agencies, and community colleges to foster collaboration and learning among workforce development leaders in Hudson County. We will be holding an informational webinar on May 3 at 11 a.m. for those interested in learning more about the Academy and application process.
Upcoming at EOP
Join the conversation
Follow us on social media to join the conversation.
The Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) advances promising strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income Americans connect to and thrive in a changing economy. EOP works to address the systemic issues of race, gender, and place in economic inequality and to advance an inclusive vision of economic justice. Over its 25 years of work, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, to start businesses, and to build assets and economic stability. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org/eop.
EOP has several initiatives, including the Workforce Strategies Initiative, FIELD, UpSkill America, and Good Companies/Good Jobs. Learn more about these initiatives by visiting their respective websites: aspeninstitute.org/wsi, aspeninstitute.org/field, aspeninsitute.org/gcgj, and aspeninstitute.org/upskill.
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. For more information, visit aspeninstitute.org.
Thank you to our many partners and funders for supporting our efforts.
Keep in touch