Job Quality Fellowship

Americans place a high value on work and believe hard work should offer a pathway to economic security. But decades of lagging wages, eroding benefits, and declining employment security means that too many jobs do not match that vision of work as a pathway to an economically stable life. Many see this as the central issue leading to the erosion of the middle class. To restore the ideal of work as the pathway to the American Dream, our economy needs more quality jobs.

In communities across the country, there are leaders innovating to address this quality jobs challenge. We have seen strategies in economic development, workforce development and business consulting that encourage higher quality jobs. We have seen local officials building policies to encourage and reward higher quality jobs. We have seen traditional and nontraditional labor organizations advancing new strategies and collaborating with employers to improve job quality. And we have seen business leaders and social entrepreneurs develop innovative models that create higher quality jobs.

To support these innovations and encourage even more, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is delighted to announce the new Job Quality Fellowship. This fellowship will bring together innovators from differing lines of work who are engaged in work that expands the availability of better quality jobs in our economy.

We are now seeking nominations for the inaugural cohort of the Job Quality Fellowship. We invite you to nominate leaders that are innovating to improve job quality. And yes, that leader can be you! Eligible nominees will receive additional information and an application for the fellowship. Job Quality Fellowship applications will be due by July 17, 2017, with more details about the application process below.

Who should be a Job Quality Fellow?
  • Job Quality Fellows can come from a variety of organizations and disciplines—entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs from public, private, or nonprofit organizations are welcome.
  • We are looking for a variety of innovators focused on developing and supporting job quality above industry or sector standards.
  • We expect fields of work will span economic, community, workforce, and business development services.
  • We also seek entrepreneurs and social entrepreneurs who are developing business models that design or redesign jobs that boost worker engagement and productivity.
  • Social or other investors who intentionally support businesses building high quality jobs are also a priority.
  • We seek local policy makers and civic leaders that have innovative ideas for improving the quality of jobs or incentivizing higher quality jobs.
  • Those that expand opportunity for people and communities too often left out of the economic mainstream are of specific interest.
  • Fellows should have significant authority and responsibility for devising and implementing strategies within their organization.
Why become a Job Quality Fellow?
  • Fellows will connect with a diverse network of peers engaged in work that addresses job quality.
  • In-person meetings will offer a safe harbor for the discussion of difficult issues as well as connections to resources and support.
  • The research knowledge, network connections, and field leadership efforts of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program will be marshalled to support the fellows’ work.
  • Fellows and their organizations will be highlighted for their innovative leadership.
  • Fellows will contribute to the development and communication of a new narrative around job quality that supports their efforts.
  • The fellowship will be a year-long experience involving three in-person meetings, the first of which will be in Aspen, Colorado, October 1-3, 2017.