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Department of Commerce Kicks Off New Job Quality Initiative to Help Ensure that Economic Recovery is Built on Quality Jobs

Job Quality text showing smiling female worker of modern industrial factory in workwear and protective helmet standing in large workshop.
Credit: Pressmaster/Shutterstock

This week, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and Deputy Secretary Don Graves hosted the convening of national experts to officially launch the Department of Commerce’s new Job Quality Initiative. The initiative is aimed at ultimately helping American employers become more competitive by providing their workers with high-quality jobs.

“Having a job isn’t just about a paycheck—it’s also about the dignity that comes with it. And if we expect our hardworking Americans to be top-quality workers, we must ensure that employers are providing top-quality jobs,” said Secretary Raimondo. “Companies that provide higher-quality jobs get higher-quality workers, ultimately giving them a competitive advantage–it’s that simple. As the economy continues to build back better, it is imperative that business, government, and other organizations come together to build a national dialogue about job quality. With yesterday's convening, we take that first step.”

“There isn’t a single silver bullet that defines a quality job—it’s all these elements working together in concert. In today’s labor market, companies that provide quality jobs—where people want to work—have a clear competitive advantage,” said Deputy Secretary Graves. “And the first step toward making all our businesses competitive, is clearly defining what ingredients our businesses need to be more attractive to potential employees. The Baldrige Excellence Framework has been enabling quality and performance excellence for over thirty years. We will leverage that expertise as we work to develop a widely accepted and broadly applicable Job Quality Framework.”

During the kick-off meeting and through the fall, the Department will be seeking input from a diverse range of experts to ensure that the Job Quality Framework reflects the latest research and standards about what constitutes quality employment, which will ultimately be used to guide organizations that wish to attract and retain top talent. The convening focuses on the basic definition and key elements of job quality. The Baldrige Excellence Framework provides one baseline approach that for decades has guided organizational change, performance excellence, and increased competitiveness. The more than 30 participants bring deep experience analyzing and promoting job quality from multiple perspectives, including workers and families, communities, businesses, and investors. Through the fall, the Baldrige team will conduct additional working sessions to explore more in depth the key elements of job quality and proven practices to achieve it, and identify meaningful metrics to help businesses assess and improve their performance.

The Baldrige Program, administered by the Department of Commerce’s The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is the nation's public-private partnership dedicated to performance excellence. The Baldrige Program:

  • Raises awareness about the importance of performance excellence in driving the U.S. and global economy.
  • Provides organizational assessment tools and criteria.
  • Educates leaders in businesses, schools, health care organizations, and government and nonprofit agencies about the practices of best-in-class organizations.
  • Recognizes national role models and honors them with the only Presidential Award for performance excellence.

Read Secretary Raimondo’s opening remarks here and Deputy Secretary Don Graves remarks here

Read the news release on the Department of Commerce website. 

Released October 1, 2021