Employment and Jobs

A Toolkit to Engage Employers and Opportunity Youth on the Future of Work

October 23, 2019  • Amy Blair, Jamie McAuliffe & Ranita Jain

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The future of work has received an avalanche of attention over the past several years from the media, academics, and policymakers. However, most discussion has been theoretical and speculative. And the challenges facing opportunity youth have largely been left out of this conversation.

Given this context, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, with support from the Citi Foundation, developed a practical approach and toolkit that community leaders can use to begin to learn how the future of work is playing out right now in their local economies.

The toolkit includes:

  • A framework and questions to guide conversations with employers and young adults to learn from them about the nature and structure of work in specific occupations and what’s changing now
  • A guide to resources for conducting background labor market research to inform conversations
  • Insights from three organizations that pilot-tested the approach and toolkit in their communities

We hope this toolkit provides a starting point for insightful conversations that can inform approaches and programming to help ensure opportunity youth are in a position to succeed in today’s changing economy. We look forward to hearing your feedback and hope you’ll reach out to tell us what you learn!



The #futureofwork has gotten a lot of attention lately, but the challenges facing #opportunityyouth have largely been left out of this conversation. So @AspenJobQuality and @AspenFCS created a toolkit to help fill in the blanks.

A toolkit by @AspenJobQuality and @AspenFCS can help community leaders learn how the #futureofwork is playing out in their local economies, especially as it relates to #opportunityyouth.

How can we ensure #opportunityyouth are positioned to succeed in the #futureofwork? This toolkit by @AspenJobQuality and @AspenFCS can inform programming that helps ensure opportunity youth are included in today’s changing economy.


About the Economic Opportunities Program

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. We recognize that race, gender, and place intersect with and intensify the challenge of economic inequality and we address these dynamics by advancing an inclusive vision of economic justice. For over 25 years, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity.


About the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions

The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions promotes collaborative, community-based efforts that build the power and influence of those with the least access to opportunity, and support communities to come together to expand mobility, eliminate systemic barriers, and create their own solutions to their most pressing challenges. Launched in 2012 at the Aspen Institute, the Forum for Community Solutions envisions a future where communi-ties create their own vibrant and lasting solutions to the social and economic problems that they face. The Forum for Community Solutions believes that if communities have more power to lead change, we will create a more just and equitable society.