What innovative strategies are helping workers navigate today's changing economy? And, what can philanthropy learn from them?
These are questions that the Annie E. Casey and Joyce foundations asked — and answered — in their jointly funded report, Taking Action.
The nation’s evolving employment landscape is giving rise to a widening — worsening —inequity gap. It’s an economy that increasingly favors workers with a postsecondary education and has seen a rise in jobs with unpredictable hours, low wages and limited benefits. Those already struggling to get by — including black and Latino workers — are overrepresented in entry-level jobs and face the highest hurdles in the changing economy.
Taking Action examines these disparities and highlights strategies aimed at helping lower-paid workers navigate and excel in the changing world of work.
These real-world examples, explored as 12 case studies, fit into three categories: 1) higher education and workforce development strategies that prepare young people for jobs that provide family-sustaining wages; 2) responses to concerns about worker power and agency in the context gig and contract work; and 3) state and local policies that address wages, work and a changing economic environment.
In the opening pages of the report, Casey’s Allison Gerber and the Joyce Foundation’s Sameer Gadkaree acknowledge the chosen case studies fit within a bigger — and more complicated — socio-economic context. “The labor market and education systems, including higher education, remain beset by severe race- and income-based inequities,” they write. “Racial disparities in wealth building also have widened over the past three decades, as have race- and wealth-based gaps in college attainment.”
Yet, Taking Action is a start, say Gerber and Gadkaree. It points to efforts already underway and speaks to the power and incredible promise of positioning low-wage workers to succeed — both now and for generations to come.
Read Taking Action