Employment and Jobs

California’s Approach to Recovery and Resilience: Centering Equity and Job Quality

August 9, 2020  • Economic Opportunities Program


Questions about the future of work have shifted in this time of pandemic, prompting overdue discussions about workplace health and safety, the unemployment system, health insurance, and fair wages and benefits. What policies can support a thriving future of work? What roles do we want private business to play? And what strategies will build a future of work that addresses long standing inequities and inequalities and provides opportunities for all to thrive? California’s Future of Work Commission and Jobs and Recovery Task Force have been working on these questions since before the pandemic and have begun implementing innovative policies to address the critical challenges facing working people in today’s economy and tomorrow’s.

Featured Speakers

Julie Su

Julie A. Su
Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency

Julie Su, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom, is the Secretary for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). The LWDA enforces workplace laws, combats wage theft, ensures health and safety on the job, connects Californians to quality jobs and career pathways, and administers unemployment insurance, workers compensation, and paid family leave. LWDA oversees seven major departments, boards, and panels that serve California workers and businesses by improving access to training, promoting high road jobs, eliminating barriers to employment, and creating a level playing field for employers. As California Labor Commissioner from 2011 through 2018, Su enforced the State’s labor laws to ensure a fair and just workplace for both employees and employers. A report on her tenure released in May 2013 found that her leadership has resulted in a renaissance in enforcement activity and record-setting results. In 2014, she launched the first “Wage Theft Is a Crime” multimedia, multilingual statewide campaign to reach out to low-wage workers and their employers to help them understand their rights and feel safe speaking up about labor law abuses.

Angela Glover Blackwell

Angela Glover Blackwell
Founder in Residence, PolicyLink ; Member, Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery

Angela Glover Blackwell started PolicyLink in 1999 with a mission of advancing racial and economic equity for all. Through her writing, speaking, and leadership, Angela has helped to grow and define a national equity movement focused on innovating and improving public policy with a wide range of partners to ensure access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color – particularly in the areas of building an equitable economy, health, housing, transportation, infrastructure, and arts and culture. Prior to founding PolicyLink, Angela served as Senior Vice President at the Rockefeller Foundation, where she oversaw the foundation’s Domestic and Cultural programs. A lawyer by training, she gained national recognition as founder of the Oakland (CA) Urban Strategies Council, where she pioneered new approaches to neighborhood revitalization. From 1977 to 1987, she was a partner at Public Advocates, a nationally known public interest law firm. She is also the host of the recently launched podcast, Radical Imagination.


Headshot of Meghan McCarty Carino

Meghan McCarty Carino
Workplace Culture Reporter, Marketplace

Meghan McCarty Carino is the Workplace Culture reporter for Marketplace, where she covers everything from gender and racial equity issues to the gig economy and workplace health in the face of the pandemic. Before joining Marketplace she reported on transportation and mobility for Los Angeles member station KPCC, covering the scooter explosion, transit expansion, and the effects of the housing crisis on commutes. She’s a lifelong Californian who has split her life almost evenly between the Bay Area and Los Angeles, and attended UCLA and USC.


Thanks to everyone who participated on social media. Click here to view highlights from the discussion.

Video: “California’s Approach to Recovery and Resilience: Centering Equity and Job Quality.” Featuring @JulieSuCA (@CALWDA), @agb4equity (@policylink), and @meghamama (@Marketplace). Hosted by @AspenWorkforce.

The pandemic has sparked overdue conversations about health and safety, unemployment, health insurance, wages, and benefits. How can we create good jobs for all workers? Hear from @JulieSuCA, @agb4equity, and @meghamama.

As we look toward reopening and recovery, what strategies can address longstanding inequities and provide opportunities for all to thrive? California has some answers. Hear from @JulieSuCA, @agb4equity, and @meghamama.

For additional communications materials, including sample posts, web text, email text, and graphics to share with colleagues in your network, download our toolkit: Outreach Toolkit

Opportunity in America

The Economic Opportunities Program’s Opportunity in America discussion series has moved to an all-virtual format as we all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the conversations about the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country remain vitally important. We hope you will participate as we bring our discussions to you in virtual formats, and we look forward to your feedback.

We are grateful to the Ford Foundation, Prudential Financial, Walmart.org, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and the Surdna Foundation for their support of this series.

Learn More

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.