Lessons from entrepreneurs and future of work leaders

Those of us who are embroiled in the “future of work” space are coming out of a tumultuous month, season, year. From a disfigured economy to emphatic calls for equity, our ways of working, earning and learning have rarely been left untouched. It’s a reminder to me that the only constant we can count on is change.

Our news cycle is working hard to keep up with the rate of transformation in workforce and education. In fact, Adweek found that more and more publishers are launching or expanding future of work reporting. In the piece, journalist Charlie Warzel reflected on…

Takeaways from a U.S. Department of Labor listening tour

In an ideal world, our working lives would lead to fulfillment — but too many working Americans face insurmountable barriers when it comes to effectively caring for themselves, their families, and their communities.

New data shows that just 39% of Americans would be able to cover an unexpected expense totaling $1,000. From car repairs to emergency health bills to a loss of childcare, life (even before the pandemic) had no shortage of surprises. …

Recently, Harvard’s interdisciplinary Project on Workforce released a new report: Working to Learn: Despite a growing set of innovators, America struggles to connect education and career. The report identifies opportunities to create stronger, more equitable pathways from education to career, drawing on data from New Profit’s Postsecondary Initiative for Equity Initiative to assess the state of innovation in the sector.

The research comes to us at a critical moment — at a time when the economic fallout brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic is putting enormous stress on millions of Americans. In particular, Black, Latino/a/x, Indigenous and other underinvested communities…

New Profit unveils top 15 ideas for an equitable future of work as the Future of Work Grand Challenge enters its implementation phase

In June 2020, New Profit, in partnership with XPRIZE, JFF, MIT Solve, and a coalition of partners, launched the Future of Work Grand Challenge. The name is not hyperbole; facing a growing skills gap and crippling student debt amidst a global pandemic, the Grand Challenge set out to rebuild the economy and create a future of work that works for everyone.

Today, New Profit announced 15 solutions that will enter the next phase of the Grand Challenge. This phase of the initiative will focus on the implementation and validation of the selected solutions to rapidly reskill 25,000 workers into higher-wage…

Dear Mayor Walsh,

I am writing to you as the daughter of a factory worker who benefited greatly from the protections provided by the union. I now spend my career working to ensure that every worker has dignity in work and access to a living wage.

It is a great opportunity for our country with you, Mayor Walsh, at the helm of the Department of Labor to carry on your lifelong commitment to put workers at the center with an explicit lens on racial equity. …

Last week, over 750,000 people filed unemployment claims. As widely reported, many of these jobs are not coming back. So where are Americans going to look for employment? This is a question facing the over 12 million individuals searching for jobs.

In addition to government stimulus payments, there is another resource that may not be on the radar of most Americans: workforce boards and job centers. As I previously wrote, these entities served 1 in 12 Americans last year. Yet why are these organizations unknown to so many of the general public? A key reason is that most people with…

Applying worker-centricity to policy and philanthropy

“However, what is not being discussed — and should — is how the digital divide undermines workers’ ability to organize and build power, which is especially critical during crises in our digitally connected world. We must close the digital divide for all workers if there is to be any meaningful increase in worker power.”

Last week, I reviewed an eye-opening new report by Phela Townsend, an entrepreneur at Next 100, a startup think tank for and by the next generation of policy leaders. The piece, titled, “Disconnected: How the Digital Divide Harms Workers and What We Can Do About It,”

But here’s what philanthropy CAN do

Last month, in honor of Black Philanthropy Month and in need of community healing, I brought together nine Black women funders focused on workforce development, education and the national skills gap.

Sitting at an inflection point, the moment felt bigger than us in some ways. Our conversation was led by questions about the abstracted “future of work” and where it’s headed. We debated how the philanthropy community could step up to address today’s crises and cultivate a more promising future. We shared the fears, concerns, and challenges that keep us up at night — and the projects that energize us.

The year was 2008, and I had just launched my first social venture, the Global Language Project (GLP). I didn’t think I was doing anything radical by being a woman of color who founded an organization that inspired students in my community of Harlem, New York to become global citizens. After a successful international career in the private sector, I thought surely that my lived experience, work abroad, and track record of success would translate into a meaningful social venture.

I didn’t know that — due to my race and gender — statistics predicted my new venture would operate sub-scale…

How modernizing workforce boards can support workers experiencing low wages

When we explore solutions to train and place workers in higher-wage jobs, the focus is often around what individual companies or programs are doing to close the gap and reach workers. However, there is another — often overlooked — resource that is a powerful complement to these initiatives. Workforce boards, located in all regions across the United States, identify the labor needs of local communities and direct public funding to programs that connect workers to training, jobs, and other resources.

In many ways, these boards are America’s best-kept “secret” in the future of work. As research from Jobs for the…

Dr. Angela Jackson

Innovating + Investing at the intersections of the Future of Work, Race and Equity. Twitter: @angjack

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store