Employment and Jobs

Building Back Better: A National Jobs Strategy

February 18, 2021  • Mary Alice McCarthy, Carl Van Horn & Michael Prebil

The United States has a jobs problem. When the COVID-19 pandemic plunged the economy back into recession in early 2020, it laid bare a fragile and profoundly inequitable labor market. In the absence of a robust and coordinated recovery strategy focused on increasing the supply of good jobs, the same labor market pathologies that plagued the last recovery will re-emerge: the long-term unemployed will struggle to land jobs and many will give up; private sector job growth will be slow and uneven; many new jobs will be worse than those they replace; unemployment among Black and Latinx workers will remain elevated; and income and wealth gaps will widen. This recovery must be different. The Biden-Harris administration has an historic opportunity to lay the foundation for an economy built on good jobs, one that ensures the benefits of economic growth are broadly and fairly shared

This publication provides a set of concrete recommendations to help guide an all-of-government jobs strategy, including three goals to guide a national jobs agenda, a suite of distinct but reinforcing strategies to achieve them, and a framework for coordinating activities across government.

Read the Report


About the BETS Taskforce

The Better Employment and Training Strategies Taskforce (BETS) is a coalition of more than 40 leading practitioners and experts working to modernize the United States’ outdated patchwork of workforce policies. The five BETS workgroups were convened in November 2020 to develop recommendations aimed at informing the incoming Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress on issues and policy options related to unemployment insurance, workforce development, job quality, youth employment, and federal jobs initiatives. The BETS Taskforce was convened by Prof. Stephen Crawford of the George Washington Institute of Public Policy, Stuart Andreason of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and Larry Good of Corporation for a SkilledWorkforce.

The above document is the final product of the federal jobs strategy workgroup chaired by Carl Van Horn of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University and Mary Alice McCarthy of the Center on Education & Labor at New America (CELNA).

The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program is proud to participate in BETS. Click here to learn more.


BETS Reports