Ringing In a New Era of Job Quality

Good jobs are the newest hot topic in workforce development, but that hasn’t always been the case. Almost a decade ago, when the National Fund started promoting job quality, it seemed like a radical idea. We love seeing good jobs move to a widely accepted area of focus in the field and at the Department of Labor.

Earlier this month, DOL hosted a Good Jobs Summit where federal, state, local, union, and other workforce development leaders came together to discuss how they can collaborate to make more good jobs a reality. At the summit, U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh announced the “Good Jobs Principles,” a coordinated effort with the Department of Commerce to provide a roadmap to advance the goal of quality jobs for all workers.  These new principles overlap nicely with our Job Design Framework, and I’m hopeful they will help further job quality efforts across the country.

Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su opened the Summit by laying to rest the past bad narratives about skills, workers, and the labor market. “This narrative of a worker shortage and a worker-skills deficiency is convenient. It’s appealing because it doesn’t require the kind of hard look at what’s really going on that we need to do.”

We need to create economy-boosting jobs where workers feel valued, earn enough money to comfortably spend in their community, and can improve their family’s wellbeing.

I was excited to see that Aimee Durfee from our site in Syracuse, New York was a panel participant at the summit! She, and a delegation from Syracuse, presented on the role apprenticeship and other skill-development interventions can improve job quality. It is incredible to have the work being done in our network showcased on the national stage.

Fortunately, as we’ve seen in our own work and through the Good Jobs Summit, businesses are coming around to the idea that job quality has a social and competitive advantage.

To meet these lofty goals and ideals, we will need to accurately measure our impact. As a member of the Job Quality Measurement Initiative, I was part of a team that presented over 30 recommendations for improving job quality metrics, a subset of which were presented at the summit.

Good jobs are the foundation of an equitable economy that lifts up workers and families and makes businesses more competitive. We look forward to the gains the next decade will bring as more people, businesses, and institutions prioritize job quality.

Amanda Cage

-- President and CEO, National Fund for Workforce Solutions