Working Up project advocates for workforce development


A group of stakeholders brought together by Convergence Center for Policy Resolution have convened in an initiative called “Working Up” and recently released a report which they call “a sweeping economic mobility framework centered around work.” The report and a summary can be found here from Close It. This report advocates for raising skills, increasing access to jobs, and improving job quality. Some of their specific ideas to achieve these goals are:

  • Expanding childcare access,
  • Rebuilding career pathways for those facing long-term unemployment,
  • Hiring and supporting returning citizens,
  • Providing paid national sick leave,
  • Creating regional employer networks, and
  • Creating efforts to stabilize work schedules and “smooth income for those with volatile, insecure, and part-time jobs.”

 

A diverse group of stakeholders

The report comes in response to declining economic mobility. As Close It explains, “in 1980, four out of five 30-year-olds earned more than their parents did at the same age. By 2010, the number sharply declined to 50 percent.”

 

The Working Up project consisted of 28 members from varied professional and political backgrounds. They worked together towards the objective of “creating multiple career pathways and greater economic stability for lower income Americans.” Convergence Center President and Founder Robert J. Fersh explained that “Meeting the challenge of economic mobility often sends people straight to their partisan corners,” and that this project proves that “when people who need to talk to each other actually listen to each other, they can build trust, generate creative thinking, and find real solutions.”

 

Four key actions for economic mobility

After two years of research, the Working Up group found four key actions which they believe will renew economic mobility.

 

First, systems for building a skilled labor force should be strengthened. This includes removing barriers to post-secondary education and training as well as increasing career exploration and awareness beginning in childhood.

 

Next, the group advocates for improved job quality for lower wage workers. This means increasing access to paid leave, implementing more flexible and predictable schedules, and government action to increase the availability of affordable, high-quality child care.

 

Third, lower wage workers should have increased financial stability and security. Some suggested methods are children’s savings accounts, expanded access to financial tools, and employer- and community-supported emergency funds.  

 

Finally, the report calls for removing barriers to work. These include the barriers that impact those facing long-term unemployment, returning citizens, or those with disabilities. 

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