Media contact: Archana Pyati (202) 261-5614 or firstname.lastname@example.org
January 12, 2022—WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute, has awarded $2.4 million in research grants to inform and drive action toward strengthening economic security and mobility for workers earning low-wages in the U.S. labor market, with an emphasis on addressing equity gaps affecting Black workers and other workers of color, immigrants, and women.
The awards fund research across a wide range of topics, institutions, methods, and academic disciplines. The 22 projects to receive awards will explore several dimensions and pathways for workers to achieve greater economic security and mobility as well as barriers and disparities that lead to inequitable labor market outcomes. Projects will examine the role played by state and local policies and programs; employer practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion; worker power and representation; apprenticeships and workforce training; entrepreneurship; and other topics that shape workers’ labor market experiences.
Several projects focus on evaluating pilot or established programs or services aimed at advancing workers’ economic mobility and represent partnerships between academic institutions and community-based organizations. As part of a separate funding opportunity to be offered later this year, WorkRise will launch a Request for Proposals dedicated to funding pilot studies that test and evaluate innovative public- and private-sector interventions designed to improve the economic mobility of low-wage workers.
“As the U.S. economy continues its post-pandemic recovery and workers regain their footing, employers, policymakers, and practitioners need best-in-class evidence to guide policymaking, business practices, and a range of decisions that will enable and empower all workers to find opportunity in the labor market and achieve economic security,” said WorkRise executive director Todd Greene. “These 22 projects will generate actionable insights that places worker well-being and economic mobility at the center of efforts to build a more equitable and resilient labor market.”
Thirteen teams will receive grants to design and field new surveys or combine a variety of existing public and private data sources to create new datasets to answer seminal research questions on workers’ economic security and mobility. Each team will produce a variety of reports, data visualizations, and other resources to share their findings with key stakeholder audiences, including policymakers, employers, worker advocates, practitioners, philanthropy, and the broader research community. The projects and research teams are as follows:
- Building Evidence-Based Subsidized Employment Programs
David Grusky, Edward Ames Edmond Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University; Corey D. Fields, Associate Professor and Idol Family Term Chair, Department of Sociology, Georgetown University; C. Matthew Snipp, Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor in the School of Humanities and Sciences and Director, Institute for Research in the Social Science’s Secure Data Center, Stanford University; Charles Varner, Associate Director, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University; and Rosina Pradhananga, Founder, Subsidized Employment Lab, Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University
- The Workforce Almanac: Mapping the US Workforce Development Sector
David Deming, Isabelle and Scott Black Professor of Political Economy and Academic Dean, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Faculty Director, Malcolm Wiener Center for Social Policy; Peter Q. Blair, Assistant Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education and Co-director, Project on Workforce, Harvard University; Joseph Fuller, Professor of Management Practice, Harvard Business School, and Co-director, Project on Workforce, Harvard University; Rachel Lipson, Project Director, Project on Workforce, Harvard University; and Tessa Forshaw, Alexis Gable, and Jorge Encinas, doctoral candidates and researchers, Project on Workforce, Harvard University
- A Workplace Divided: Combining Robust Survey Research and Strategic Stakeholder Engagement to Advance Equitable Workplaces and Economic Progress for Workers of Color
Carl Van Horn, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Director, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University; and Ronald Quincy, Professor of Professional Practice, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy and Senior Faculty Fellow for Diversity Studies, John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, Rutgers University
- Addressing Racial Inequalities in Apprenticeships: Understanding Disparities to Improve Opportunities for Black and Latinx Workers
Marianne Bertrand, Chris P. Dialynas Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Pritzker Director, Inclusive Economy Lab, University of Chicago; Alexander Bartik, Research Affiliate, Inclusive Economy Lab, University of Chicago and Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Guglielmo Briscese, Postdoctoral Fellow, Inclusive Economy Lab, University of Chicago
- Achieving Greater Worker Voice, Equity and Mobility: A Multi-Industry Study of Organizing Efforts and Their Outcomes
Thomas Kochan, George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, MIT Sloan School of Management; and Kate Bronfenbrenner, Director of Labor Education and Research, School of Industrial and Labor Relations, Cornell University
- The Impact of a Worker’s First Job: Racial/Ethnic and Gender Differences in Career Paths
Christine Mulhern, Associate Policy Researcher, RAND Corporation; and Lisa Abraham, Associate Economist, RAND Corporation
- Disaggregating Minimum Wage Impacts: How Do Young and Less Experienced Workers Fare?
Jennifer Romich, Professor, School of Social Work, University of Washington and Director, West Coast Poverty Center, University of Washington; and Shannon Harper, Deputy Director, West Coast Poverty Center, University of Washington
- The Effects of Labor Organizing on Worker Welfare and Service Quality in the Healthcare Sector
Suresh Naidu, Professor of Economics and International and Public Affairs and Co-director, Columbia Labor Lab, Columbia University; and Adam Reich, Associate Professor of Sociology and Co-Director, Columbia Labor Lab, Columbia University
- Examining Economic Sustainability and Mobility Resulting from Key Equity Provisions in Paid Leave Policies to Meet Health Needs Josephine Kalipeni, Executive Director, Family Values @ Work; and Jody Heymann, Director, WORLD Policy Analysis Center, University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health
- Employees’ Experiences of Fair Workweek Ordinances: Variations by Provision, Industry, and Municipality Susan J. Lambert, Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, University of Chicago; and Julia Henly, Professor, Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice, University of Chicago
- Underemployment in the US: Its Distribution and Effects on Workers
Lonnie Golden, Professor of Economics and Labor-Employment Relations, Pennsylvania State University, Abington; and Jaeseung Kim, Assistant Professor, College of Social Work, University of South Carolina
- Work Equity: Build the Knowledge Base of Actionable Evidence to Mobilize Employers to Adopt Promising DEI Practices to Increase Equity for Underrepresented and Low-Wage Workers Samuel L. Bradley, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Boston College; Kathleen Christensen, Faculty Fellow, Center for Social Innovation, School of Social Work, Boston College; Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, Professor Emerita, School of Social Work, Boston College
- Do Language Restrictions on Obtaining Drivers Licenses Influence Labor Market Outcomes of Immigrants? Colin Cannonier, Associate Professor of Economics and GLO Fellow, Belmont University; and Monica Galloway Burke, Professor, Department of Counseling and Student Affairs, Western Kentucky University
The remaining nine research teams will receive planning or seed grants to refine their research design or conduct literature reviews on salient research questions that advance knowledge on workers’ economic mobility. These are the projects and research teams:
- Universal Family Care Pilot
Nicole Jorwic, Chief of Advocacy and Campaigns, Caring Across Generations
- Assessing Pathways to Economic Security for Low-Wage Immigrant Manicurists
Lisa Fu, Executive Director, California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative; Lucero Herrera, Senior Research Analyst, University of California, Los Angeles Labor Center; and Magaly Lopez, Senior Research Analyst, University of California, Los Angeles Labor Center
- How Does Entrepreneurship Contribute to Community Economic Development and Social and Economic Mobility?
Zagros Madjd-Sadjadi, Professor of Economics, Winston-Salem State University; Aparna Gosavi, Associate Professor of Finance, Winston-Salem State University; and Nikolaos Karagiannis, Professor of Economics, Winston-Salem State University
- Do Self-Employment and Entrepreneurship Represent Viable Pathways out of Poverty?
Michael Morris, Professor of the Practice, Keough School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame; and Reginald Tucker, Assistant Professor, Stephenson Entrepreneurship Institute, Louisiana State University
- Building Evaluation Readiness for the Economic Advancement for Refugees and Immigrants Project Jennifer Strand, Director of Research and Evaluation, Catholic Charities Fort Worth; and Sarah Dunham, Manager of Research and Evaluation, Catholic Charities Fort Worth
- A Completed Sentence, but Ongoing Punishment: How Past Criminal Convictions Bar Floridians from Occupational Licensing Opportunities
Tachana Joseph-Marc, Policy Analyst, Florida Policy Institute; and Samuel R. Staley, Director, DeVoe L. Moore Center, Florida State University
- Shared Micromobility for the Economic Well-Being of Workers in Low-Wage Jobs
Suman Mitra, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Arkansas; and Reese Brewer, Director, Frontier Metropolitan Planning Organization
- A Literature Review of Spatial Mismatch and Implications for Economic Mobility
John Helton, Executive Director, Atlanta CareerRise; and Michael J. Rich, Professor of Political Science, Emory University
- How Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Influence Work Performance and Labor Market Outcomes
Laivian Coleman, Workforce Development and Career Pathways Consultant, Urban League of Greater Atlanta; and Stephanie Watson, Nonprofit Consultant and Grant Strategist, Building Connections