This project was made possible by the generous support of our funders – and with significant support from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation. We also received major support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, and The JPB Foundation. Additional support came from the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation, Collegiate Church Corporation, and Hellman Foundation.
Work has been central to achieving the American Dream. Throughout our history, work that provides a decent standard of living has been a critical pathway to upward economic mobility.
At the outset, we agreed to seek common ground on answers to the question: How can work become a stronger engine of economic mobility for lower income workers?
America is facing unprecedented challenges to work as an engine of economic mobility. Economic mobility is falling while inequality is increasing, causing those who started low on the economic ladder to likely experience little improvement in their standard of living over their lifetimes, even if they work hard.
The Dialogue identified four key barriers facing low-income households:
In 1980, eight out of ten thirty-year-olds were earning more than their parents did at the same age. In 2010, only five out of ten were earning more.
(Pew Research Center)
At the time of the Dialogue, incomes of the top 20%, and even more the top 1% of households, have risen substantially faster than incomes for others.
Workforce Proposals On-ramps to the workforce and reduce barriers to employment.
Quality Job Proposals Improve job quality for lower wage workers
Financial Stability Proposals Increase financial stability and security for lower wage workers
Remove barriers to work for key populations
Working Up: Reconvened to Address Economic Recovery Crisis for American Workers
In the initial, most acute months of the COVID-19 pandemic, some members of our previous Working Up Dialogue reconvened along with several new voices with a short-term effort to address the economic fallout of the pandemic on low- and moderate-income workers. This work included opening a key channel of communication among groups across sectoral and ideological lines as congressional recovery packages were crafted and some of those participating in our informal discussions were advising and influencing key Hill offices.
Further Convergence Collaboratives
The work of this group helped identify where Convergence could do deeper, ongoing work in our Economic Opportunity portfolio to build out solutions and recommendations for private sector leaders, policy makers, and other cross-sector influencers at the state and community level going forward. Our two current projects focused on Pathways to Better Jobs and Supports for Working Families grew out of the input and guidance of this group.
Additional support provided by the Collegiate Church, Hellman, and Arthur M. Blank Family Foundations.
Check out our donate page or contact our development team to learn more.
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