The Gig Work Project hosted a listening session with skilled trades contractors and housekeepers to better understand how they participate in the economy. Below are audio excerpts from that dialog with annotations.
Successful economic and workforce development programs should place their primary focus on the development of fundamental skills such as confidence, communication, problem-solving, collaboration, and market awareness. Currently, most programs emphasize skills that while critical are used relatively infrequently. Examples of these important but infrequently used skills are how to write a business plan and how to interview properly. These skills, while certainly important, are largely useless without confidence to attempt the interview, without trust to collaborate, without language to communicate, and without knowing the market value of work.
The Importance of Language
Learning to Set Prices
The importance of personal and informal networks for successful economic participation cannot be overstated. Relationship management is a fundamental skill that need to be taught and regularly sharpened because the vast majority of support for entrepreneurs and workers comes through informal networks. We have found in our work that, by far, the single most important vehicle for getting new business, learning new skills, and finding collaborators is through interpersonal networks.
Word of Mouth
Economic development programs need to better understand how contracting and gig work are already used to start and grow businesses. Workforce development efforts would do well to teach contracting and gig work best practices from both the employer and worker perspectives. Public policy also needs to be updated to enable these best practices while protecting workers and facilitating businesses.
Starting with Side Jobs
Contracting to Vet Talent
Many contingent workers are undocumented. Regardless of political leanings, it cannot be denied that a certain percentage of these people are starting businesses and creating jobs. Furthermore, there is a desire among many of these workers to contribute to society. How can we create a system that holds these individuals accountable for their decisions while still taking advantage of and supporting their drive and ingenuity?
An Introduction (Spanish)
Perdir el Miedo, “Lose the Fear” (Spanish)
To Gain Knowledge and Help Others