Employment and Jobs

Lessons and Takeaways from Supporting Small Businesses to Improve Job Quality: Seven Tips for Workforce Organizations

April 12, 2022  • Jenny Weissbourd, Vivian Vázquez & Yoorie Chang

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According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses account for providing nearly half of all jobs in the United States. As we look to build back stronger from the economic crisis wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, employer engagement is critical to finding creative ways to foster thriving businesses and a strong workforce.

In recent years, our workforce development partners across the country have noted a growing demand for employer engagement practices that enable collaboration and innovative solutions in connecting people to good jobs. In response, we developed this guide containing tips and practices for creating trusted relationships with small business employers focused on improving job quality.

This publication compiles seven lessons for small business prospecting, recruitment, and ongoing engagement. The lessons outlined in this tool are based on our experience working with Pacific Community Ventures and workforce partners to conduct job quality-focused business advising pilots with small businesses across the country. Although there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing relationships with employers, we have found that asking lots of questions and tailoring engagement to the local context is key. For additional resources, we encourage you to check out Pacific Community Ventures’ Good Jobs Good Business Toolkit as well as our Job Quality Tools Library.


Lessons and Takeaways from Supporting #SmallBiz to Improve #JobQuality: Seven Tips for #Workforce Organizations. By @yooriechang, @missmks88, @jennyweissbourd, and Vivian Vázquez.

#SmallBiz provide nearly half of US jobs. As we look toward recovery, employer engagement is critical to fostering thriving businesses and a stronger workforce.

#Workforce organizations face a growing demand for practices that connect people to good jobs. This guide by @AspenJobQuality contains tips and practices for creating trusted relationships with #smallbiz employers focused on #jobquality.

While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing relationships with employers, asking questions and tailoring engagement is key. This guide by @AspenJobQuality compiles seven lessons for #smallbiz prospecting, recruitment, and engagement.

About Reimagine Retail

Reimagine Retail, an initiative of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program and supported by Walmart, explores ways to enhance job quality and improve mobility for workers in the retail and service sectors. As part of this initiative, we are partnering with workforce organizations and employers across the country to gather input from frontline workers to inform job quality improvements. We’re grateful to our local partners, and excited to share valuable lessons from their work on the ground.

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The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.