What does it mean to make ends meet? Each month a percentage of the workforce deals with the reality that the amount of money they bring home is not enough to cover their basic needs. A single event, from an unexpected illness to a snow day at school can create instability, and can impact their ability to put food on the table, pay their bills, or get to work.
In an ideal world, every individual would have the opportunity to do meaningful work, be safe from discrimination and harassment, and have the resources they need to create a healthy and stable life for their families. Liddy Romero has spent her career working towards that ideal scenario, and was most recently named a Job Quality Fellow by the Aspen Institute.
The Job Quality Fellowship, supported by The Prudential Foundation and Ford Foundation, supports and strengthens the work of leaders in this space, including Liddy Romero, expanding and enhancing their ability to impact the lives of frontline workers.
“People need stable, quality jobs that are safe, pay enough to live on, and offer essential benefits. There are not enough of these jobs, particularly for low-income, underserved populations,” said Sarah Keh, director of corporate giving, Prudential Financial, Inc., in a webinar discussing the Fellowship. “Low quality jobs can be a core driver of inequality because everything is intertwined in today’s economy. Businesses succeed when individuals, families, and communities are thriving too.”
Liddy’s work as Managing Director of WorkLab Innovations, is dedicated to creating a sustainable model, connecting employers, workers, and community resources to close the gap between individual income and a living wage, with a focus on the benefits to both employers and employees. Providing direct access to individualized support, WorkLab Innovations has proven that connecting frontline workers to solutions for the challenges that create instability in their lives has direct, measurable benefits for employers in the form of both retention and engagement.
The Job Quality Fellowship program seeks to provide practical strategies to support the advancement of job quality, which includes elements such as wage stability, safe and inclusive working conditions, benefits that support a healthy and stable life, and work that meaningfully contributes to the goals of the organization.
Through the Job Quality Fellowship, Liddy and her collaborators at WorkLab Innovations will continue to build on the momentum they have created through their partnership with employers and community organizations. As they scale the Sustainable Workforce Model to new geographic locations, they will help thousands of front-line workers develop skills and access resources to support a stable income stream, and do meaningful work to move themselves and their families forward toward their goals.
“I am honored to be part of the leadership responsible for lifting up promising job quality practices in America’s work culture, and proud to sit with fellow change-makers from labor to corporate to community colleges, and discuss how we can act together to elevate the value of hard working people,” said Liddy Romero.
Learn more about the Job Quality Fellowship class of 2017–2018.