“What Is a Good Job Now?” Asks New Partnership Between the James Irvine Foundation and Zócalo Public Square

The Event and Editorial Series Will Elevate the Stories and Experiences of Low-Income Workers Across California

“What Is a Good Job Now?” Asks New Partnership Between the James Irvine Foundation and Zócalo Public Square | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Zócalo Public Square, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that connects people to ideas and to each other, today announced a new partnership with The James Irvine Foundation to explore the question “What Is a Good Job Now?”

Zócalo will begin a series of public programs and editorial essays under this title in spring 2023. The partnership will elevate the individual stories and experiences of low-income workers in California—in health, logistics, agriculture, tourism, retail, and tech, among other sectors. The series will examine the real-life effects of changes in state and local policy that have been intended to help workers, including formerly incarcerated people and gig economy contractors.

“Zócalo looks at the whole world, but it has always been a California organization” said Moira Shourie, executive director of the non-profit, which will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023. “We have long published the stories of everyday people from some of the state’s most out-of-the-way places, and we have held our free, public events from San Diego to Susanville. With this new project, we are eager to hear not just the voices but the specific ideas of working people in every corner of California.”

Low-income workers will write pieces for the series and speak during the events. Zócalo is planning six events between spring 2023 and summer 2024, in the Irvine Priority Communities of Riverside, Fresno, and Salinas, as well as in Los Angeles, Sacramento, and the East Bay. Events will be free and livestreamed so that people unable to attend in person can participate in the conversation

The partnership grew out of conversations between Zócalo and Irvine about the foundation’s initiatives in Better Careers, Fair Work, Just Prosperity and Priority Communities, which propel its work to create a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Irvine awarded Zócalo a $320,000 grant to complete the “What Is a Good Job Now?” project.

Zócalo Public Square, an Arizona State University Media Enterprise, connects people to ideas and to each other by examining essential questions in an accessible, broad-minded, and democratic spirit. By exploring difficult questions at our free public programs and digital magazine, Zócalo seeks to understand our lives here in California, the nation, and the world at large.


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