Twenty years before J.D. Vance published his best-selling memoir, Hillbilly Elegy, Harvard sociologist William Julius Wilson wrote an elegy of his own. advertisement advertisement “Few observers of the urban scene in the late 1960s anticipated the extensive breakdown of social institutions and the sharp rise in rates of social dislocation that have since swept the ghettos and spread to other neighborhoods that were once stable,” Wilson declared in his 1996 book, When Work Disappears. Although he made clear that these places were not monolithic, most of what he described were communities made up predominantly of African-Americans. “Jobless black poverty areas,” he called them. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy is, of course, about a different demographic: “the millions of working-class white Americans of Scots-Irish descent who have no college degree.”—or, as he puts it in plainer language, “hillbilly people.” … [Read more...] about For Communities Of Color, Startup Funding Efforts Can Hold Promise And Pitfalls
Labor and jobs
When people think of the kind of work they can hustle up via a digital platform, it’s often marked by completing “mind-numbing tasks for hours on end, sometimes earning just pennies per job,” in the words of one recent report. advertisement advertisement Those who find work through Thumbtack, however, occupy a very different part of the online landscape. “It is a part of the gig economy in the sense that . . . they go job to job,” Marco Zappacosta, the cofounder and CEO of the marketplace for home services and other professional freelance jobs, told me on the latest episode of my podcast, The Bottom Line. “But it is not the gig economy in the way that some people think of it, which is sort of these commodity labor platforms, be it ride-sharing or delivery. . . . “These are really differentiated, non-commoditized services,” he says. “When you keep the focus on that, you really see . . . what the future of work holds.” … [Read more...] about LISTEN: Why The Future Of Gig Work Might Not Be As Bleak As Many Believe
If half of the adults in America picked up this article, they’d struggle to fully comprehend it. About one in seven couldn’t read it at all. advertisement advertisement Now, imagine how tough it would be for these men and women to obtain a decent job. A lack of transportation and affordable childcare are typically cited as the biggest barriers for low-income workers to get ahead. But there’s another fundamental factor that is easily overlooked: A huge part of the American labor force is illiterate. “When you talk about adult literacy, it sounds like you’re referring to a few folks who fell through the cracks, but that’s not the case at all,” says Jessica Rothenberg-Aalami, the founder and CEO of Cell-Ed, a for-profit social enterprise that is making promising strides in combating the problem with a mobile learning platform targeted at low-skill workers. “It’s a hidden epidemic.” Formally launched four years ago, … [Read more...] about This mobile learning platform aims to combat the “hidden epidemic” of adult illiteracy.
Imagine that you’re the governor of Pennsylvania or Vermont, and you’re trying to figure out how to help your state cope with the impact of automation. What policies do you pursue first to ensure that people can succeed as the job market is rapidly remade? advertisement advertisement Actually, that’s a trick question. As a new study from Walmart makes clear, every state requires multiple sets of strategies, each one tailored to fit a particular “community archetype.” In fact, of the eight archetypes that the report identifies, Pennsylvania has seven of them within its borders. Even Vermont, with a total population just north of 600,000, contains four archetypes. On average, each state has five. “It really highlights the need for local solutions,” says Kathleen McLaughlin, the chief sustainability officer at Walmart, which will release the analysis today at the Bentonville Conference on American Life. Drawing on research from the … [Read more...] about New study shows what your community needs to do to survive the impact of automation
Almost everything in modern life is portable. If you move states, you can keep your cell number. Your entire music library, the collected works of J.K. Rowling, and all five seasons of Breaking Bad: all portable. With a laptop, Wi-Fi, and the cloud, many jobs are portable, too. But you know what’s not portable? Benefits. advertisement advertisement Not yet, anyway. And the lack of portable benefits is one of the biggest impediments blocking U.S. workers from thriving in the new economy, where flexibility is king. Today’s businesses expect a workforce available on short notice, for temporary engagements, with specialized skills. Consumers, too, expect to be able to order a taxi, a movie, or even a doctor on demand. But despite all this flexibility, the system for supporting the independent workers who provide these services is the opposite of flexible. Our health insurance, unemployment insurance, and workers compensation are rigidly attached to the employer. When … [Read more...] about Why Portable Benefits Should Be A Priority In The New Economy