IRLE is celebrating another year of growth—in funding, staffing, and in the reach of our expertise on issues that matter to workers and their families. IRLE faculty and staff continue to generate cutting-edge research and to bring that scholarship into policy debates and the public sphere. This year, IRLE deepened communications and program support to our affiliate faculty, and we continued to expand our student programming to grow the next generation of labor scholars and activists.
IRLE’s internal centers also had big years. The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) received a grant from the Heising-Simons Foundation to facilitate organizational capacity building for its planned leadership transition in 2019 from founding director Marcy Whitebook (who will serve as Director Emerita), to its new director, Lea Austin. The Labor Center has been central to California debates over the classification of independent contractors and is launching a major new initiative on the Future of Work. The Center for Wage and Employment Dynamics (CWED) continues to be a leading source of credible research on minimum wages and their benefits to health and families. And the California Policy Lab’s (CPL) growing number of partnerships with state and county agencies unlocked data and informed key policy decisions that improved the lives of Californians.
I am especially proud of IRLE’s ability to provide extensive grant and communications support for faculty initiatives so that they may reach a broader audience and further the national conversation around working conditions and inequality. We offered several communications workshops tailored to faculty-identified needs and partnered with the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) to host Training Researchers to Inform Policymakers. We also supported faculty with message development, writing and placing op-eds, and translating research into timely policy briefs.
Our expanding undergraduate research apprenticeship program provided promising scholars with experience in rigorous research. We also furnished more than 30 graduate students with critical research funding, data access, and an interdisciplinary environment to present and receive feedback on their work.
Read on to learn more about how IRLE continues to support path-breaking research at Berkeley on the labor market, and how we inform the public debate with robust data and research about inequality, the economy, and the nature of work.
— Jesse Rothstein, Director of IRLE, Professor of Economics and Public Policy