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Work, skills, community: Restoring opportunity for the working class

The authors of this report came together in the months after the 2016 election to develop a plan of action. We convened a group of scholars – half right-leaning, half left-leaning – then spent a year considering the causes of working-class distress and debating policy solutions. We have produced a set of recommendations that we hope Democrats and Republicans will come together to enact in Congress, arresting the decline in working-class communities and building bridges back to opportunity in the American mainstream., Our report begins with description: who makes up the working class, where do they live, how much education do they have, do they work, at what kinds of jobs, what do they earn, how much do they own? We also trace their growing problems – declining labor force participation, slumping marriage rates, single-parent families, opioid deaths – and map them. The three chapters that follow contain our proposed solutions: ideas about creating jobs, increasing wages, drawing workers back into the labor force, revamping education and job training, bolstering communities and strengthening families. The final chapter points a way forward.