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.
Exploring Job Quality in Food Retail
Pete’s Fresh Market and Instituto del Progreso Latino have created an innovative partnership that helps Pete’s, a local grocer, create new opportunities for success for its workers while supporting its bottom line. The report, “Chicago’s Fresh Approach to Incumbent Worker Training,” looks into how these two organizations collaborate to create training programs that build skills and create opportunities for advancement for workers in the food retail industry. This report is the first in a series from our Reimagine Retail project, which will highlight promising workforce strategies around the country.
With the holidays approaching, we hosted a Working in America event “Fresh Pathways: Strategies to Improve Job Quality and Equity in Food Retail” to discuss the role that grocery stores play in building resilient and healthy communities. Congressman Dwight Evans joined the panel to give remarks on how he has worked to improve food access and support the creation of food retail jobs both in Pennsylvania and across the country. Panelists had a spirited discussion about how food retailers can provide economic opportunity for their workers and help to support healthy communities.
Leading Conversations on Reducing Inequality
Maureen Conway and EOP Fellow Joseph Blasi published an op-ed in Politico, “A Better Way to Share the Wealth,” recommending three practical policies to help more working Americans build a measure of wealth and economic stability. While most policymakers and journalists focus on income inequality, wealth inequality continues to grow at a staggering pace. The proposed policies offer potential starting points for addressing the serious challenges our society faces today. The piece is part of Politico’s special issue on the “Future of Prosperity.”
On November 26, we also hosted a webinar on expanding inclusive development through employee ownership in opportunity zones. In the webinar, experts discussed the value of employee ownership for creating quality jobs and how the intent and current regulatory structure of Opportunity Zones can match with these goals. We will be continuing to explore this issue and will be sharing more work as this continues. In case you missed the webinar, you can catch it here.
In a commentary in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, Maureen Conway and Mark Popovich highlight the work that the Job Quality Fellows are doing to restore the dignity of work in communities across the country. Job quality is on the mind of Americans, and these fellows are leading exciting work to change the way that businesses, communities, and government think about what makes a good job.
The Federal Reserve System published its book, Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers, which includes a chapter from Maureen Conway, “Strategies to Advance Job Quality.” The chapter notes the challenges of rising costs, stagnant earnings, and volatile incomes that face millions of working families across the country, and calls for action across sector across sectors and disciplines to address issues of inequality and diminished economic opportunity and highlights ideas for improving job quality. The chapter was originally published as a pre-release chapter earlier this year.
Convening Nonprofits Building Financial Technology
Last week, FIELD partnered with the Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program to convene the winter meeting of the Nonprofit Leaders in Financial Technology (nLIFT), a coalition of seven nonprofits working to build a fair and inclusive fintech marketplace. Building on the manifesto the group released this fall, nLIFT members are working to chart the next few years of their work.
Creating and Sharing Tools to Help Businesses Improve Job Quality
UpSkill America released a new tool to help businesses create a culture of learning that encourages employees to build and apply new skills. The tool both explains the value of a culture of continuous learning and explains six actions companies can take to create such a culture in their business.
As part of National Apprenticeship Week, UpSkill America also shared a tool from the Department of Labor to help companies implement apprenticeships as part of their businesses. The tool lays out a step-by-step process to create and register apprenticeships.
The Good Companies/Good Jobs initiative held a webinar for organizations interested in learning more about how they can use the Working Metrics tool to promote good jobs practices. The webinar provided an in-depth look into the data the tool collects and an overview of next steps for how to get started with the tool. You can watch the full webinar here.
Upcoming at EOP
Our next Working in America event will be in January 2019! Please keep an eye out for more information about the panel and a date in the new year.
We will also be continuing our series on promising workforce strategies with another profile in the coming weeks.
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. 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