Employment and Jobs

Modernizing Worker Benefits for the 21st Century

October 11, 2020  • The Aspen Partnership for an Inclusive Economy

(with Future of Work and Financial Security Program)

Public and private benefits are crucial to a worker’s financial security, but the design and delivery of these benefits disproportionately exclude low-wage workers, workers of color, and workers in non-traditional work arrangements. How can we refresh and modernize these systems to the benefit of all workers and their families? Would a new, integrated system of benefits guided by four key principles – people-centric, inclusive, portable and interoperable – be the pathway to an inclusive recovery and long-term prosperity for all workers in America? This event will introduce the work of the Benefits21 initiative and the holistic approach to financial security and economic mobility being undertaken by the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership.

Opening conversation with Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) and Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director of the Future of Work Initiative. Benefits21 presentation by Sarika Abbi, Associate Director, Financial Security Program.

Moderating: Joanna Smith-Ramani, Managing Director, Financial Security Program, Aspen Institute


  • William Spriggs, Professor and Former Chair of the Department of Economics, Howard University and Chief Economist, AFL-CIO (@WSpriggs)
  • Trent Bigelow, CEO & Co-Founder, Track (@TrentBigelow)
  • Molly Hemstreet, Executive Co-Directors, The Industrial Commons (@IndustCommons)
  • Parag Mehta, Executive Director and Senior Vice President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth (@paragie)

For years, the story of America’s prosperity has obscured a fundamental truth about our growth: its tragic inequity. And while the COVID-19 economic crisis has stripped bare any illusion that our economy is just or fair, it has also afforded us an opportunity to reexamine how finance, worker benefits, and health intersect and interact with economic growth and financial security.

Join our new conversation series: Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding

Showcasing leading experts and policymakers in their fields, the Global Inclusive Recovery and Rebuilding Series will explore different yet interconnected topics, drawing on the perspectives of multiple programs and leadership networks at the Aspen Institute. Issues to be addressed include lending for entrepreneurs of color; benefits for workers and the connection between benefits and financial security; the role of global health organizations in the effort to develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines as a means for economic recovery; and a look at capital management and how fiduciaries are and are not acting on behalf of beneficiaries in the interest of inclusion.

This series is part of the Global Inclusive Growth Partnership, a collaboration between the Aspen Institute and the Mastercard Center For Inclusive Growth. See below for full event descriptions and speakers. Registration is required.