For cities seeking to advance upward economic mobility through employment, it is important for local leaders to understand the difference between settling for “just a job” versus promoting “good jobs” for residents. Good jobs generally have family-supporting wages, benefits and opportunities for advancement. Research has found that the cost of inequity regarding educational attainment by economic status and race/ethnicity costs the U.S. almost $1 trillion dollars. Moving from no job to any job can be an important first step, but the long-term placement of individuals in industries or with employers who support the development of their staff is essential to ensuring that residents can advance into careers that allow them to build wealth. This is especially important for many Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) individuals who may have experienced more barriers than their white counterparts to securing high-wage, quality employment.
When a city does not have a sufficient number of good jobs available to residents, the social fabric of its communities can be unraveled. Without jobs that pay living wages, workers cannot afford to frequent local businesses, which can then spiral and prohibit small businesses from earning enough profit to expand their workforce. When there are fewer good jobs, there is also less competition among employers, which can have the effect of decreasing salaries, wages and benefits that are offered within a community. This decrease in pay can have a long-term impact on the ability of residents to save for their retirement, a home or their children’s education, thereby increasing the likelihood of intergenerational poverty. This effect can decrease the economic health of cities because of the direct tie between the economic health of residents and municipal budgets. Finding solutions that enable the advancement of economic mobility of all residents, from youth to caregivers and returning citizens, offers an opportunity for municipal leaders to meet the needs of their communities while strengthening their municipal budgets.
Strategies to Consider
Cities have numerous options to create good jobs for residents that leverage the strengths of the community – employers that invest in training, workforce investment boards (WIBs) that work with service providers to ensure wraparound supports for participants or businesses that are responding to their employees’ needs.
The following forthcoming case studies will be available soon for municipalities working to advance good jobs for their residents:
- Cities in Action: Supports to Help Residents Secure Training and Maintain Employment
- Cities in Action: Strengthening Youth Employment Opportunities
- Cities in Action: Fair Scheduling That Gives Workers Predictability and Stability
Contacting the NLC Economic Opportunity and Financial Empowerment (EOFE) Team
Reach out to us for more information about advancing equitable economic mobility or to discuss strategies that can address the challenges your community is facing.