To reverse economic trends that have left many American workers behind, smart, targeted public policies that encourage private-sector investment in the creation of quality jobs are needed, a report from finds.
Funded by the , the report, (67 pages, ), examined five federal programs and systems that could be recalibrated so as to direct more capital to businesses offering high-quality employment opportunities — the , the , , the General Services Administration's , and . Changes recommended by the report's authors include modifying tax-credit selection criteria, varying loan terms, and creating a tax credit set-aside for job-creating businesses; creating a public dashboard that captures financial institution investment in meeting communities' credit needs; analyzing data on the quality of jobs supported by SBA programs and tying SBA loan eligibility to job-quality standards; giving priority to companies creating quality jobs when awarding government contracts; and requiring certain U.S.-based publicly traded companies to report on quality job metrics.
The study also found that the components of effective policy change include clear standards around the definition of "quality jobs," public participation in advocating for higher job-quality standards, incentives that align the interests of all stakeholders, greater transparency and compliance, and the belief that public policy has the power to drive social change.
"Investors, business owners, and (in the case of procurement) government buyers wield tremendous power through their ability to contribute directly or indirectly to job creation," the report states. "Each of these players makes decisions about where to commit or seek capital. Effective policy can facilitate the creation of quality jobs by changing the conditions under which these decisions are made, resulting in the channeling of additional capital toward businesses that offer benefits and living wages. Investors, business owners, employees, and their communities can all benefit from such changes."
"The lack of quality employment opportunities in America, particularly for low-income people, communities of color, immigrants, and women, is a driver of widening inequality in our country," said Shawn Escoffery, program director for strong local economies at the Surdna Foundation. "The scale and complexity of this problem require that multiple approaches be taken to improve the availability and quality of American jobs, which will necessitate close coordination across the public, private, and social sectors....At the Surdna Foundation, we recognize that part of the solution is public policy, which is an important lever to encourage and support the growth of businesses that create quality jobs and strengthen their local economies."