Talent 2025 to host scholars on working class issues

On October 10-11, Talent 2025 will host a bipartisan working group who will soon be releasing a report through Opportunity America on issues America’s working class is facing. On the 11th, the working group will discuss these issues and the report’s findings with leaders from West Michigan.


Problems and solutions for the working class

The report, which is yet to be released, focuses on the myriad of issues that the working class has faced in recent years. It defines this group as those with a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree who are living in households with incomes of roughly $30,000-69,000 per year.


Factors such as wage stagnation and jobs disappearing due to automation have caused economic stress for the working class, and the report cites related social stresses such as a quickly declining marriage rate, the closure of civic institutions such as churches or union halls, and the opioid crisis. What’s more, deaths of despair are on the rise among the working class.


In order to address these complex and serious issues, the working group was composed of half right-leaning and half left-leaning scholars to determine recommendations that Democrats and Republicans could come together to enact in Congress.


The panelists

Robert Doar is the Morgridge Fellow in Poverty Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, where his research focuses on antipoverty policy and safety-net programs. Before joining AEI, he was the commissioner of Human Resources Administration in New York City and commissioner of social services for the state of New York. 


Tamar Jacoby is president of Opportunity America. A former journalist and author, she was a senior writer and justice editor at Newsweek and, before that, the deputy editor of the New York Times op-ed page. She is the author of Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (1998), and editor of Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means to Be American (2004).


Anne Kim is a senior fellow and director of domestic and social policy at the Progressive Policy Institute. A lawyer and journalist, she was previously senior writer for the Washington Monthly, deputy chief of staff to Rep. Jim Cooper of Tennessee and economic program director at the think tank Third Way. She is working on a book about out-of-school and out-of-work youth.


Oren Cass is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his research focuses on public policy’s effects on the labor market. He served as domestic policy director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign and worked as a management consultant at Bain & Company. He is the author of The Once and Future Worker (2018). Oren Cass, senior fellow, Manhattan Institute.


Interested in attending?

“Winning Strategies for Good Jobs” will be held at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids from 7:30-9:30 AM. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.


If you are unable to attend, we invite you to keep up with takeaways from the event by following us on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.

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