Launching The Good Jobs Collaborative: Centering Workers in Workforce Development Policy and Practice

In a surprise burst of bipartisanship in late 2023, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce advanced legislation reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Unfortunately, the compromise bill does little to re-balance our employer-dominated workforce development system or help workers navigate a labor market in which they have little power, few protections, and limited access to family-sustaining jobs.

It is time for a new approach to workforce development policy and practice that addresses the structural challenges facing low-wage workers, particularly workers of color. As the Senate takes up the reauthorization process, federal policymakers have the opportunity to broaden the conversation around workforce development and hear from workers and their advocates about how to build a system that puts the needs of workers first.

Please join us on March 12 from 10:30 am 12:00 pm EDT for the launch of The Good Jobs Collaborative, a new policy coalition of worker advocates, researchers, and policy experts committed to crafting a new approach to workforce development—one that is worker-centered. The event will take place at New America and will feature a lively discussion with labor leaders, workforce experts, and workers on what’s gone wrong with our approach to workforce development policy and how to fix it. Lunch will be provided.


  • Mary Alice McCarthy, Senior Director, Center on Education and Labor, New America

The Good Jobs Collaborative: Background and Principles

  • Teófilo Reyes, Chief Program Officer, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United

Discussion: Labor Leaders and Workforce Development

  • Leslie Frane, Executive Vice President, Service International -Employees Union
    Erica Smiley, Executive Director, Jobs With Justice

Research: “Unleashing Worker Power: Case Studies in Building Good Jobs Beyond the Traditional Workforce System

  • India Heckstall, Senior Policy Analyst, Center on Law and Social Policy

Worker Perspectives

  • Bertrand Ekenja, Member, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
  • Moderator: Kayla Elliott, Director, Workforce Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies

Concluding Remarks

  • Alí R. Bustamante, Deputy Director, Worker Power and Economic Security, Roosevelt Institute

The Good Jobs Collaborative includes the following organizations:

  • Advancing Black Strategies Initiative (ABSI)
  • Aspen Institute, Economic Opportunities Program
  • Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
  • New America, Center on Education & Labor
  • Healthcare Career Advancement Program (H-CAP)
  • High Road Strategy Center, University of Wisconsin
  • Jobs to Move America
  • Jobs With Justice
  • Joint Center for Political & Economic Studies
  • Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC)
  • Roosevelt Institute
  • Service Employees International Union (SEIU)