Building an Equitable Workforce How Can We End Occupational Segregation?

If you ask someone how they ended up in their current job or career, you are bound to encounter a seemingly endless list of scenarios. But one commonality is that workers’ experience is largely shaped by their socioeconomic status. Affluent, predominantly white communities are more likely to establish an expectation that young people will enter a four-year college and pursue a white-collar career. Students from lower-income, Black, Native American, and/or Latinx communities, however, often receive limited career navigation support in their schools, or may be guided (sometimes unconsciously) to pursue an occupation that is predominantly occupied by people with a similar socioeconomic, gender and/or racial identity – which, in many cases, tend to be lower-paying, lower-quality jobs.

What’s causing occupational segregation today, and what can policymakers and business leaders do to address it? In this conversation, National Fund for Workforce SolutionsSkillUp CoalitionGrads of Life, and National Skills Coalition will explore the key drivers of occupational segregation and discuss the ways we can shift these drivers to create a more equitable workforce.


  • Tom Strong, Director of Employer Activation, National Fund for Workforce Solutions

  • Elissa Salas, Vice President, Partnerships & Operations, SkillUp Coalition

  • Francisca Williams-Oni, Senior Director, Advisory Services, Grads of Life

  • Melissa Johnson, Managing Director, State Strategies, National Skills Coalition