In 2016, the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program held six public discussions as part of Working in America, an ongoing discussion series that explores changes in the structure and culture of work and highlights promising approaches to help low- and moderate-income workers succeed in today's economy. Working in America events feature a diverse set of voices, including those of business leaders, practitioners, policy experts, labor leaders, workers, philanthropists, and academics, and bring attention to ideas for improving jobs and the economy as a whole.
The videos below are six of these disucssions held by the Aspen Institute.
Traditional economic development has left many behind in communities across the country. Some communities have taken approaches that harness and strengthen local assets and empower traditionally excluded communities. Panelists discussed how inclusive economic development can cultivate economic opportunity for community residents and build strong economies.
Featured Speakers: Mayor Dwight C. Jones of Richmond, Virginia; Marjorie Kelly, The Democracy Collaborative; Sanjay Pinto, Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations and The Worker Institute at Cornell; Emily Kawano, Wellspring Cooperative Corporation; and moderator Dorian T. Warren, Roosevelt Institute, MSNBC, and Center for Community Change.
As work demands more of employees' time, many are asking: How can I earn a living while making sure my family doesn't fall behind? EOP Executive Director Maureen Conway sat down with Heather Boushey to discuss her new book Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict, in which she argues that resolving work-life conflicts is as vital for individuals and families as it is essential for realizing the country's productive potential.
Featured Speaker: Heather Boushey, executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
We often hear that good jobs require college. For many, however, the road to a college degree presents more challenges than opportunities. This discussion considered alternative approaches to helping low- and moderate-income workers of all ages attain better job opportunities, including investment in vocational training institutions.
Featured Speakers: Dr. Katherine Newman, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Michael G. Johnson, Johnson Talent Development; Andy Van Kleunen, National Skills Coalition; and Sandi Vito, 1199SEIU.
How can workers' voices bring about changes in public policies and business practices? David Rolf discussed these issues and his new book, The Fight for $15: The Right Wage for a Working America in this book talk. Labor leaders from Seattle and SeaTac, Washington, also shared their experiences exercising democratic rights and advocating for better working conditions.
Featured Speakers: David Rolf, SEIU 775; Tanika Aden, homecare worker and executive board member, SEIU 775; Ridwan Axmed Geele, airport worker; and Crystal Thompson, food service worker.
We partnered with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to host a luncheon forum which explored strategies for both raising the floor — improving the quality of lower-wage workers' jobs, as well as building ladders — creating opportunities for career advancement. Panelists discussed the advantages, to both workers and employers, of advancing employment and workforce strategies that do both.
Featured Speakers: Lisa Falcone, United Way of Northwest Vermont's Working Bridges Project; Adrienne Smith, New Mexico Direct Caregivers Coalition; and Walter Smith, QuikTrip. Jon Willis, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, provided economic background for the conversation and moderated.
What are the causes and consequences of high youth unemployment? And how can we address it through policy and practice changes? Panelists discussed ways to improve young workers' access to economic opportunities, taking a close look at the role employers, and stronger connections to employers, can play in helping teens and young adults access career-launching work experience.
Featured Speakers: Lashon Amado, Opportunity Youth United; Amy Barad, Cowen Institute, Tulane University; Kisha Bird, CLASP; Paul Harrington, PhD, Drexel University; Tammy Simmons, Machine Specialties Inc.; and moderator Melanie Trottman, The Wall Street Journal.