Achieving the Promise of Work

Possibilities & Perils


Challenging Times - Changing Structures of Work

Changes in work are driving economic, social, cultural and political uncertainties – uncertainties that can tear the fabric of civil societies. The origins can be local, national or even global, but the effects are felt personally.

Today, success is defined in terms of cost savings and shareholder value. New technologies are deployed across entire industries to replace rather than augment workers.

At the same time, programs to improve the lives of workers and their families are mostly place-based or focused on individual needs.  These singular efforts cannot overcome the headwinds of decisions and events that transcend boundaries and local markets. They alone cannot achieve the scales needed for systemic improvements. Success requires coordinated action, continuous learning, and effective networks of people and communities.

Policies that affect the many futures of work need to be informed by the wants, needs, desires, ideas and opinions shared around kitchen tables and family events, in barber shops and beauty salons, at community gatherings, on shop floors, in places of worship, and in offices. These policies need to be discussed in public forums where diverse opinions are invited and respected.

Our path forward is to support, empower, collect and report these conversations, to foster cutting edge research and policy thinking, and to engage leaders in business, labor, government, education and civic society in forward-leaning collaborations that are aimed at Achieving the Promise of Work for workers, their families, and their communities.

The Achieving the Promise of Work Partnership

The Partnership is comprised of the Institute, grassroots groups, non-governmental and inter-governmental organizations, academic and research institutions, unions, business associations, and philanthropic institutions committed to:

  • Advancing equitable policies and practices that lead to successful and satisfying careers

  • Fostering innovative enterprises that derive their strengths from the collective efforts and cumulative learning of its workers

  • Achieving inclusive and equitable community economic, social and cultural benefits regardless of place or status

  • Growing successful participatory democratic institutions.

Partnership Initiatives

Community Gatherings

The Partnership helps to organize community-based gatherings to:

  • Document real-life experiences of neighborhoods, towns, cities, regions and communities of people

  • Understand how and why work structures are changing locally and how these changes are linked to larger systems 

  • Launch and support initiatives in pursuit of sustainable, equitable and inclusive growth.

Policy consortium

The international consortium of project stakeholders, applied policy researchers, and policy makers is engaged in work that advances the principles of the Achieving the Promise of Work initiative.

The consortium supports:

  • Original research and policy development

  • An open-access repository of policies, research, scholarship, documentaries and original work

  • Community gatherings and public conferences

  • A tool-chest of “how-to” resources. This will include conversation guides and other materials that will support independent inquiry and local action.


The Partnership connects communities and the policy consortium into networks to facilitate collective and cumulative learning and action. A goal is to achieve scales that match the size and scope of the factors driving large changes in the structures of work.