Making Work Work



Making Work Work

Join us in exploring the social and economic organization of work and its transformation, with a focus on vulnerable workers and an eye toward policy changes that better protect individuals and families. 

2021-23 theme

Areas of focus

Carework and the potential for building a care policy infrastructure

Protecting workers as businesses push toward gig work and on-demand scheduling

New directions for the labor movement, worker voice, and worker activism in unexpected places 

How the increasing number of immigrants, women, and people of color in low-wage and precarious jobs can be better represented and heard

For more background information about this theme, check out our resource list, which will point you to relevant podcasts, books, articles, and organizations. 


Sarita Gupta

2021-22 Wayne Morse Chair 

Sarita Gupta is the Vice President for U.S. Programs at the Ford Foundation where, until recently, she directed The Future of Work(ers) Program. Gupta joined the Ford Foundation in 2019 with more than 20 years of experience working to expand people’s ability to come together to improve their workplaces, their communities, and their lives by creating solutions to the problems they face. She has deep expertise in policy advocacy, organizing, and building partnerships across the workers’ rights and care movements, having served as the executive director of Jobs With Justice and codirector of Caring Across Generations. She is a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor, and political issues affecting working people, and is widely acknowledged as a key leader and strategist in the progressive movement.


2021-22 Project Grants

Eugene Weekly
Eugene Weekly will publish a year-long series exploring the labor movement in Oregon during a global pandemic, including consequential unionization efforts, legislative action related to working Oregonians, and challenges that the labor movement may experience. The series will cap with a cover feature and a public forum.

Family Forward Oregon
FFO will incorporate the voices of impacted caregivers and child care providers, along with voices from the Child Care for Oregon coalition, into strategic, coordinated advocacy for short and long-term policy solutions to Oregon's child care crisis. The coalition will also assess progress in the 2021 Oregon legislative session and work to create care policy infrastructure proposals before the 2022 legislative session.

KLCC Public Radio Foundation
KLCC will produce a documentary series featuring stories with people of color and / or people from marginalized communities whose jobs have been transformed due to recent social and economic changes. Each feature will probe into the broader local, state and federal policies surrounding each person's particular situation and/or industry. The project will culminate with a special one-hour program that will highlight a major issue of “Making Work Work” revealed while producing the series.

Northwest Workers' Justice Project
NWJP will join with Voz Workers’ Rights Education Project to launch a wage-theft legal clinic in Portland. It seeks to give low-wage, immigrant workers in precarious work the resources and support to have the agency, power, and leadership in the resolution of their own workplace disputes.

UO Sociology Department
Working with in-home, extended-hour child care providers; workers with irregular and unpredictable schedules; and policy advocates, researchers will examine how policy could support these workers who need child care, culminating with a series of briefs on Oregon child care policy. Findings and briefs will be publicized through existing networks, including the national Scholars Strategy Network.