Surdna Foundation 2013 Annual Report
Programs > Strong Local Economies > Job Quality & Career Pathways
Job Quality and Career Pathways

Job Quality and Career Pathways

Too many working women and men—and their families—can’t make ends meet. When parents work two jobs and are still forced to make impossible choices between paying for heat or food or rent, not to mention school supplies, wages are obviously inadequate.

Low-wage jobs were once the first rung for workers starting the climb up a career ladder. In today’s economy these low-wage jobs are increasingly supporting families and do not necessarily lead to higher-paid employment.

With minimal or nonexistent benefits and reduced hours, the insecurity of low-wage jobs can be as problematic as the pay. And the math is clear: If you miss work because of illness, you don’t get paid. If your hours are shaved, restocking a near-empty refrigerator or paying for school supplies becomes even more difficult.

There is a growing body of evidence that this isn’t good for businesses or community prosperity either. After all, employees of local businesses are also consumers, and when there is no cash in their pockets there’s no way they can contribute to local economic activity.

Surdna is supporting federal and state efforts to raise the minimum wage and ensure that paid sick leave for low-wage workers becomes the norm, not the rare exception. Our efforts to advance the conversation on quality jobs include activating the voice of business to promote fair wages, benefits, and career training as critical to maintaining a healthy, dedicated, and productive workforce.