States and localities shape workers’ economic mobility and security through a number of channels. State and local agencies work with employers and workforce training providers to create economic opportunities for workers and help match people’s skills with employer needs. States and localities can also shape workers’ opportunity for upward mobility by enacting their own laws on minimum wage, occupational licensing, collective bargaining, paid leave, and programs such as universal prekindergarten. WorkRise generates evidence on and elevates our understanding of state and local policies that advance or limit economic security and mobility.

Working Knowledge

Employer practices January 26, 2021

New Protections Needed for Contractors and Temporary Workers as Companies Continue to Outsource Labor

A new report highlights the need for an expansion of rights and protections for independent contractors and temporary workers, a growing share of the US workforce.

Archana Pyati

Wages and employer-provided benefits December 11, 2020

New Colorado Paid Family Leave Policy—and a Surging Pandemic—Creates Urgency for a Federal Paid Leave Program

Colorado joins eight states and Washington, DC as jurisdictions with paid family leave. Yet without a federal program, gaps in access to paid leave will persist.

Elisabeth Jacobs

Economic context December 14, 2020

Meet WorkRise's Inaugural Slate of Grantees

These nine projects will build new knowledge on accelerating economic mobility and advancing equity for workers in the U.S. labor market. 

Archana Pyati

Stakeholder voices November 06, 2020

A Q&A with Blair Milo

Indiana’s Secretary of Career Connections and Talent discusses her role connecting residents to job opportunities, food and rental assistance, and other resources during the current economic crisis.

Elisabeth Jacobs


Wages and employer-provided benefits October 07, 2020

The Challenge of Slow Wage Growth

Because of sluggish wage growth, middle- and low-wage workers in the United States are today doing little better in real terms than similarly situated workers 40 years ago, exacerbating economic burdens experienced by workers during the current COVID-19 crisis. This brief examines the evidence on wage growth for the typical worker over several decades and concludes that efforts to rebuild the U.S. labor market must include policies to accelerate wage growth.

William J. Congdon