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.
Creating Incentives for Good Jobs
Our Good Companies/Good Jobs initiative launched its groundbreaking tool to help incentivize good jobs by creating a new metric to score companies based on how they treat their workers at a Working in America event this month. This software, created in partnership with Working Metrics, will allow job quality to be used in evaluations for investments, loans, and contracts. We’re excited to help businesses recognize the value that quality jobs can have for society and their bottom lines. You can learn more about this tool in our blog post or watch the full event video here.
Supporting Efforts to Create Quality Jobs
Our second cohort of Job Quality Fellows met for the first time in Aspen and began working to share and solve common problems. These leaders from across disciplines and from around the country had the opportunity to learn about the work of B-Lab and our Good Companies/Good Jobs initiative in addition to learning about each other’s job quality strategies. The Fellows are already finding ways to work together, and we look forward to sharing more about their work over the next year. You can learn more about these fellows and keep an eye out for more about their work in the coming months.
Last month, we hosted the third Learning Meeting for Reimagine Retail in Aspen, bringing together leaders who testing innovative strategies to improve stability and mobility for retail workers. Participants had the opportunity to share findings and resources, strengthen cross-regional partnerships, and build their capacity to do this work more effectively.
We are excited to be launching four new Workforce Leadership Academies over the next two years in partnership with local organizations. These Academies will help professionals in four communities build professional skills and networks to strengthen the workforce development system. These new Academies are funded through grants from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Our work on the Economic Security Summit this summer was featured in an article in IDEAS: the Magazine of the Aspen Institute. The Summit was a unique opportunity for leaders from nonprofits, academia, and philanthropy to discuss new institutions, policies, and platforms to help rebuild the connection between work and wealth. In addition, we published three new reflections from participants at the Summit. Sharon Block shared how the Summit informed her work to rewrite our labor laws, Timothy Flacke wrote about how to use investors to influence business leaders’ decisions, and Lata Reddy proposed a new approach to incentivize employers to improve job quality.
Sharing Strategies for Upskilling
UpSkill America released a new tool to help businesses provide their employees with opportunities to grow and succeed by creating training programs for soft skills. This tool was the fourth in a series created in a collaboration with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). The “Soft Skills Upskilling Planning Guide” outlines a seven-step process to help businesses create soft skills upskilling programs that improve teamwork, customer service, and other skills which can lead to improved performance.
UpSkill America Director Jaime Fall also participated in a panel at the Urban Institute on “Advancing to a Middle-Skill Job: Moving Beyond the First Step on a Career Pathway.” The panel discussed the programs that exist to help move low-income adults and youth into middle-skill jobs. Jaime shared why upskilling programs are important for businesses that want to get and keep good workers, and the challenges that some face as they create these programs. If you missed it, you can watch the video here.
New Site, Same Great Work
FIELD launched a new site this month, which hosts all of the work, reports, and data the program has done on a new, easier-to-navigate platform that’s integrated into the Economic Opportunities Program’s site. Take a look at the new site and let us know what you think.
Joining Conversations in the Field
We also had the opportunity to participate in events with our partners to discuss challenges. Executive Director Maureen Conway spoke at an event hosted by Towards Employment at the Greater Cleveland Partnership, discussing sector strategies and job quality. Maureen was also a featured speaker at the Academic-Executive Dialogue hosted by our colleagues in the Business and Society Program, hosted at the University of Michigan.
FIELD Director Joyce Klein moderated a panel at the OFN conference titled “Deploying Technology in CDFIs – the Real Deal” focused on learning from CDFIs that have successfully deployed new financial technology and tips they have for others looking to do the same. Joyce will also participated in a TechSoup webinar led by Grameen America on technology and scale in microenterprise.
Upcoming at EOP
We will be hosting a Working in America event on job quality in food retail on November 27, register to join us for this important discussion.
We will also be sharing more about the latest cohort of Job Quality Fellows, releasing new tools to help companies upskill employees, and profiling businesses and community organizations that are working to create more quality jobs.
From the blog
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Employers must enable, promote, & reward #upskilling or run the risk of becoming obsolete.
— UpSkill America (@upskillamerica) October 8, 2018
“Let’s shape the future rather than just react to it.” Businesses, governments, and social sector orgs must all do their part to create #goodjobs for #gigeconomy workers. @mpopov1229 @conway_maureen #futureofwork https://t.co/mfzU2WjU60
— FIELD at Aspen (@AspenMicro) October 17, 2018
“What’s missing and desperately needed now is a shift in mindset that sees the welfare of workers as the most important factor in long-term economic growth and prosperity.” @PeterGeorgescu @conway_maureen @idarademacher #workandwealth https://t.co/kjvCBXPuT8
— Workforce Strategies (@AspenWorkforce) October 12, 2018
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.
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