This was originally published on JFF.org.
(February 20, 2019) — Despite an improving economy, many Americans see their contributions met with a smaller slice of the nation’s income. While we’ve seen modest wage growth over the past year, this growth is hardly at the scale or duration needed to make good on the American promise of opportunity and economic advancement for all.
As interested stakeholders and citizens, we certainly have a role to play in preparing for the demands of a changing economy. We must ensure that businesses thrive and that workers are not left behind. The $1 Billion Wage Gain Challenge is based on the belief that wage gains are a linchpin to America’s long-term economic strength. Meaningful gains can only be achieved when business, government, and nonprofit sectors work hand in hand.
Our goal is to fuel a movement that results in meaningful long-term wage gains for workers across the country. With this in mind and with support from Schmidt Futures, we moved to action last year calling on innovators, educators, policymakers, and employers to share ideas that would raise the annual wages of at least 100,000 workers by $10,000 or more before the end of 2021—a total impact of $1 billion. In this way, the challenge is intended to resemble a billion-dollar Silicon Valley “unicorn,” but focus squarely on growing the middle class.
Over 90 ideas were submitted. After review by thought leaders and subject matter experts, including JFF leadership, we selected seven finalists. These finalists will present their ideas in San Diego on April 8 at ASU GSV X Summit, a preeminent, international conference focused on education, workforce, and technology. We intend for the event to serve as a platform for finalists to get the exposure and traction needed to truly address the challenge of creating shared prosperity. The event will include live presentations, judging, and winner selection.
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