About The Workers Lab

The US economy is broken. Simply put, we have become a low-wage nation where workers invest hours into jobs with little hope of providing for their basic needs. The result is a major social and economic crisis. Historically, the institutions that ensured workers had economic mobility, job security, and labor rights were labor unions. Between 1930 and 1970, unions accelerated the rise of America’s middle class by bargaining for wages, using their political strength to sustain federal labor laws, and providing workers a voice in policymaking from City Hall to Congress.  One generation later, there are more workers who have no legal right to form a union than there are unionized workers.

Enter the Workers Lab. We are a lab that supports the 21st working people movement to scale, be self-sustaining, and build power. We do this because we believe that a healthy middle-class is key to saving our democracy. We will invest in existing and new ideas, leaders, and institutions to help rebuild a thriving middle class for generations to come.

Supporters

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About Carmen

Carmen Rojas is the CEO of The Workers Lab, an innovation lab that invests in entrepreneurs, community organizers, technologists, and businesses to create scalable and self-sustaining solutions that improve conditions for low-wage workers.  The Workers Lab is focused on ideas, services, and products that will achieve sufficient scale to impact workers across sectors, industries, and geographies, and result in self-sufficient revenue models that are adequate to allow the models to sustain themselves in the long run.

Prior to assuming this position, she was the Acting Director of Collective Impact at Living Cities.  In this capacity, she played a pivotal role supporting the work of Living Cities’ member institutions, which represented 22 of the largest foundations and financial institutions in the world.  Her work focused on improving economic opportunity for low-income people by supporting projects in the fields of economic & workforce development, energy efficiency, and asset building.

From 2008 to 2011, Carmen was the Director of Strategic Programs at the Mitchell Kapor Foundation, where she oversaw the Foundation’s Green Access and Civic Engagement programs. Her charge involved participating in movement building efforts to build power in low-income communities and communities of color.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Carmen was the Coordinator of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency’s Taskforce on African American Out-Migration. As Coordinator, she developed qualitative and quantitative reports for a taskforce established by San Francisco’s Mayor Gavin Newsom to address African American displacement from the city.

In 2004, Carmen served as the Coordinator of the Social Equity Caucus, a program of Urban Habitat, a regional nonprofit organization in the Bay Area. She was primarily responsible for coordinating the work of a regional network of over 75 public, private, and nonprofit organizations to build a regional social and environmental justice movement that represents the needs of low-income communities and communities of color.

Carmen holds a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Fulbright Scholar in 2007. She taught in the Department of City & Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley from 2009-2011.  Her teaching focused on the history of cities in the US, a practicum on local economic development, planning pedagogy, and race in the practice of city planning.

Advisors/Boards/Partners

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