Professors Susan J. Lambert and Julia Henly awarded a WorkRise grant

WorkRise has awarded $2.4 million in research grants to inform and drive action toward strengthening economic security and mobility for workers earning low wages in the US labor market.

Susan Lambert (left) and Julia Henly (right)

Professors Susan J. Lambert and Julia Henly were awarded a WorkRise grant for their project, "Employees’ Experiences of Fair Workweek Ordinances: Variations by Provision, Industry, and Municipality." This project will conduct surveys of workers in jobs covered by fair workweek laws in Seattle, NYC, Philadelphia, and Chicago, with the goal of advancing understanding of how workers’ experiences of these laws vary with municipalities’ administrative rules and workers’  intersecting identities.

January 12, 2022—WorkRise, a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute, has awarded $2.4 million in research grants to inform and drive action toward strengthening economic security and mobility for workers earning low-wages in the U.S. labor market, with an emphasis on addressing equity gaps affecting Black workers and other workers of color, immigrants, and women.

The awards fund research across a wide range of topics, institutions, methods, and academic disciplines. The 22 projects to receive awards will explore several dimensions and pathways for workers to achieve greater economic security and mobility as well as barriers and disparities that lead to inequitable labor market outcomes. Projects will examine the role played by state and local policies and programs; employer practices around diversity, equity, and inclusion; worker power and representation; apprenticeships and workforce training; entrepreneurship; and other topics that shape workers' labor market experiences.

Several projects focus on evaluating pilot or established programs or services aimed at advancing workers' economic mobility and represent partnerships between academic institutions and community-based organizations. As part of a separate funding opportunity to be offered later this year, WorkRise will launch a Request for Proposals dedicated to funding pilot studies that test and evaluate innovative public- and private-sector interventions designed to improve the economic mobility of low-wage workers.

"As the U.S. economy continues its post-pandemic recovery and workers regain their footing, employers, policymakers, and practitioners need best-in-class evidence to guide policymaking, business practices, and a range of decisions that will enable and empower all workers to find opportunity in the labor market and achieve economic security," said WorkRise executive director Todd Greene. "These 22 projects will generate actionable insights that places worker well-being and economic mobility at the center of efforts to build a more equitable and resilient labor market."

Thirteen teams will receive grants to design and field new surveys or combine a variety of existing public and private data sources to create new datasets to answer seminal research questions on workers' economic security and mobility. Each team will produce a variety of reports, data visualizations, and other resources to share their findings with key stakeholder audiences, including policymakers, employers, worker advocates, practitioners, philanthropy, and the broader research community. Learn about all of the teams.

WorkRise is a research-to-action network on jobs, workers, and mobility hosted by the Urban Institute and receives support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, the Walmart Foundation, the Cognizant Foundation, the James Irvine Foundation, Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies, Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, General Motors, and other funders.