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.
Introducing the EOP Advisory Council
EOP is proud to announce the creation of our Advisory Council, a diverse group of experts from business, community development finance, workforce development, advocacy, academia, and journalism who will provide insight and strategic council to help guide the program’s work. We are excited to have such an esteemed group of individuals working with us to further the program’s mission of helping expand opportunity for more Americans.
Sharing Promising Workforce Strategies in Retail
Earlier this month, Reimagine Retail released a new report on how Goodwill Industries of San Diego County responded to increases in the minimum wage by investing in workers and strengthening training and development programs. The report highlights four key practices that offer lessons for organizations facing minimum wage increases, seeking to get ahead of minimum wage legislation, or taking steps to improve job quality for their workers. The report is the second in a series on promising workforce strategies from across the Reimagine Retail network.
The Retail Opportunity Network featured our report on the partnership between Pete’s Fresh Markets and Instituto del Progreso Latino in the latest episode of its Pathways to Opportunity podcast. EOP’s Jenny Weissbourd joined Alita Bezanis of Pete’s and Ysenia Cervantes of Instituto on the podcast to talk about the lessons their partnership can offer other retailers. Jenny Weissbourd also co-authored a blog post with the Hope Street Group’s Brad Clark on Reimagine Retail’s work with the Retail Opportunity Network.
Exploring the Potential of Youth Entrepreneurship
FIELD, in collaboration with our colleagues at the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, released a report that explores the potential for entrepreneurship as a tool for engaging and creating pathways for opportunity youth. The report profiles three sites supported by the Youth Entrepreneurship Fund and shares lessons learned from these programs’ work.
Restoring Work as the Foundation of the American Dream
Despite high employment and growing GDP, this year’s State of the Union and Democratic response underscored Americans’ focus and concerns on the economy and their jobs. In a new blog post, Maureen Conway and Mark Popovich share five ways that lawmakers can take concrete action this year to improve job quality and address the economic struggles of workers.
In an article in the latest issue of the Institute’s IDEAS magazine, Maureen Conway discusses the potential for employee share ownership as a strategy to improve livelihoods, support business success, and restore faith in the idea that hard work can lead to a decent life and the chance for a better future for one’s children. Research has shown that capital share strategies are linked to better outcomes for workers, businesses, and communities. Supportive policy can encourage business leaders, business educators, lenders and investors, and workers themselves to play their part in successful implementation of capital share strategies.
Helping Employers Access Support for Upskilling
Employers looking to develop new upskilling programs have a wealth of local resources that can help them along the way. Last month, UpSkill America partnered with the National Association of Workforce Boards to share a tool to help employers better understand what workforce development boards do and the resources they offer employers.
For employers looking to create or improve on tuition assistance programs, UpSkill America worked with Pearson to develop a tool to walk employers through the process of creating policies that are aligned with and support their goals. Tuition assistance can be an effective tool to help upskill employees, but it is essential that programs are accessible, well-coordinated, and structured in ways that promote effective use by employees and employers.
Upcoming at EOP
Our next Working in America event will be in March. Please keep an eye out for more information about the panel and a date in the coming weeks!
From the blog
The State of Our Economy 2019 – Extending Opportunity Requires Boosting Job Quality
By Maureen Conway and Mark G. Popovich
Towards Equity in Apprenticeship
By Mariah Young-Jones, COWS
Entrepreneurship Education: More Tools for Opportunity Youth
By the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions
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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.
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