Economic and Workforce Development

Good jobs sustain our communities, strengthen our economy, and stand at the heart of America's vision of opportunity.  But the past three decades have seen continued erosion of the manufacturing jobs that used to support our middle class - while growing numbers of Americans spend their careers stuck in low-wage, dead-end service jobs. 

Rebuilding opportunity for working families will mean engaging the core problems of our economy:  how to support competitive industries, how to train workers in the skills required, and how to ensure the creation of sufficient numbers of good jobs.  Communities across the country are therefore exploring a range of new policy tools to ensure that economic and workforce development delivers living wage jobs, quality training, and the supports that workers need to weather change.

NELP supports this movement by partnering with community groups, employers, unions and policymakers on the following strategies to create and sustain good jobs:

  • Job Standards for Economic Development

    Millions of Americans today spend their careers in low-wage service industries and other growth sectors that cannot be outsourced.  NELP is developing new strategies for shifting these industries towards a higher wage, higher productivity model by attaching job standards to economic development programs.

  • One City/One Future: Redefining Economic Development in New York City

    Cities like New York have enjoyed strong growth for more than a decade. Yet working families are increasingly squeezed by eroding wages and spiraling housing costs.  In response, NELP is collaborating on a new economic development agenda that harnesses the city's growth to create good jobs, affordable housing and sustainable neighborhoods.

  • Good Food and Good Jobs for Underserved Communities

    Low-income neighborhoods across the country face a chronic shortage of stores selling healthy, affordable food - as well as a chronic shortage of good jobs.  NELP is partnering on a pilot program in New York City that will bring quality supermarkets with living wage jobs to underserved communities.

  • Trade Adjustment Assistance

    The Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program is a critical source of income support and retraining for workers who have lost their jobs because of globalization.  NELP helps workers gain access to TAA and advocates for reforms so that the program can fulfill its promise to workers, communities and companies in the 21st century.

  • Midwest Economic Adjustment Initiative

    Midwestern states face significant ongoing job loss as automotive and other manufacturing industries restructure.  NELP is responding with model rapid response policies to help avert layoffs and support dislocated workers with employment services. NELP is also exploring new strategies for revitalizing the heartland and supporting the renewal of manufacturing.

For more information on our work in this area, please contact Paul Sonn, psonn@nelp.org (for our jobs standards initiatives) or Rick McHugh, rmchugh@nelp.org (for our economic adjustment initiatives).