Improving job quality improves livelihoods and often transforms lives. Low-wage work in the US economy is far too pervasive. According to a Brookings Institution 2019 report, 53 million workers (44% of all 18-64 working adults) earn low hourly wages. While the economy has expanded, too few workers share in the benefits. The time is now to address the challenge directly and focus on improving job quality for millions who work hard and contribute to our economy. We can no longer afford to have hard working people excluded from the abundance of our economy and marginalized by our society. We need to focus in this moment on the opportunities we have to improve the quality of jobs, and the lives and livelihoods of millions of individuals and families. And that is the theme for the 2022/2023 Job Quality Fellowship.
On Tuesday, November 30, we hosted an informational webinar about the Job Quality Fellowship. We were pleased to welcome two Job Quality Fellows to this conversation—Amanda Cage, president and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Jess Kutch, co-founder and co-executive director of Coworker.org—who discussed their efforts to advance job quality and their experience as members of the Fellowship.
A transcript from this event will be published soon.
Tweet Nov 30 from 1-2pm ET, join #JobQuality Fellows @WorkforceAmanda (@National_Fund) and @Jess_Kutch (@teamcoworker) for an informational webinar about the Job Quality Fellowship on Nov 30 from 1-2pm ET.
Tweet We can’t afford to exclude people from the abundance of our economy. On Nov 30 from 1-2pm ET, learn more about how the new #JobQuality Fellows cohort will work towards #workersrights and #equity
Tweet We must focus on improving the lives of millions of Americans by improving the quality of jobs. The new #JobQuality Fellows cohort will do just that. On Nov 30 from 1-2pm ET, join us for an informational webinar to learn more. @AspenWorkforce
Amanda Cage is the president and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. Amanda joined the National Fund in March 2020, bringing more than 25 years of federal workforce system, grantmaking, and organized labor experience to the organization. Throughout her career, Amanda has focused on ensuring economic inclusion and stability for workers and their families. Most recently, she served as the chief program officer at the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. There she managed a $70 million portfolio of public and private funding and a network of over 50 agencies for the country’s second largest workforce system. Before that, Amanda served as director of human capital strategy for the Chicago Workforce Investment Council, where she led a citywide effort to increase Chicago’s competitiveness in a global economy. For five years, she led the workforce development portfolio at the McCormick Foundation, and she was the 2004 J. Ira & Nicki Harris Foundation Fellow at the Chicago Community Trust.
Amanda started her career as a labor organizer working for Jobs with Justice and the Service Employees International Union and was a Trade Union Program Fellow at Harvard Law School. She is an Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program 2017-2018 Job Quality Fellow and a 2019 Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow. Amanda sits on the board of WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility and sits on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Agriculture, Small Business and Labor. Amanda earned a bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and a master’s degree in public policy from the Harris School at the University of Chicago.
Jess Kutch is the co-founder of Coworker.org, a platform for people to advance solutions in the workplace. Since its founding in 2013, Coworker.org has catalyzed the growth of global, independent employee networks advancing wins like paid parental leave benefits at Netflix, scheduling reform at Starbucks, and wage increases for workers at a Southern restaurant chain. In 2015, Coworker.org hosted the first-ever digital townhall at the White House on the future of worker voice with President Obama.
A digital innovator, Jess has 15 years’ experience working at the intersection of technology and social change. Prior to launching Coworker.org, Jess lead a team at Change.org in raising the company’s profile around the world and inspiring hundreds of thousands of people to launch and lead their own efforts on the platform. Jess also spent five years at the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) where she pioneered digital strategies for the labor movement. Jess is an Echoing Green Global Fellow and J.M. Kaplan Innovation Prize winner. She’s a graduate of Bennington College and currently lives in North Carolina with her partner, Rebecca, and their young son.
Job Quality Fellowship
The Job Quality Fellowship is part of the Economic Opportunity Fellows Network, a network of leadership and fellowship programs run by the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. Within this Network, EOP connects national and local leaders from across sectors — nonprofit, government, business, philanthropy, academia, and more — to advance policies and practices with the potential to help low- and moderate-income Americans thrive in today’s economy. Learn more at as.pn/eofn.
We are grateful to the Prudential Foundation and the Ford Foundation for their support of this work.
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.