There’s a growing buzz in the CDFI industry about quality jobs. What is a quality job? Why should CDFIs care about a distinction between quality jobs and other jobs? What can they do about it?

With support from the Surdna Foundation, OFN and InSight at Pacific Community Ventures (PCV InSight) are studying this issue, talking to CDFIs that are passionate about it, and attempting to answer these questions so that ultimately, more people in CDFI markets can benefit. Our research effort began in May when PCV InSight published Moving Beyond Job Creation: Defining and Measuring the Creation of Quality Jobs. Through interviews with CDFIs and others, PCV InSight defined five elements that put the “quality” in jobs: wages, basic benefits, career-building opportunities, wealth-building opportunities, and a fair and engaging workplace. They then provided practical tools for measuring these quality elements so CDFIs know if they are supporting them.

OFN is currently researching and writing the second paper in the series. This paper, to be published in July, focuses on how CDFIs are promoting quality jobs. We look at five CDFIs, two of which solely focus on this issue, two of which have made it one of several programmatic priorities, and one that is measuring it and just beginning to think about what more they might do. We look at the types of businesses they’re working with, the extensive technical assistance and business advisory services they’re providing, the cost of doing this work, and how they think about the future.

In the fall, PCV InSight will look at quality jobs from a policy perspective, highlighting specific policies that can support CDFIs and other investors’ efforts to promote quality job creation across the economy.

On June 9, OFN, PCV InSight, and some of the CDFIs we interviewed will discuss the first two papers at our Small Business Finance Forum in Chicago.


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