U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.


  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Speeches

Was this page helpful?

Closing Remarks by U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Don Graves at the Jobs Quality Initiative Kickoff


Thank you all for taking the time to join this important discussion today. Thank you Pronita and Harin for participating!

Job quality is such a critical part of the President’s Build Back Better agenda, and our work together on this issue can help build a national dialogue that leads to real change.

We must ensure that job quality guides decisions about federal spending to ensure that our contracts and grants only support work that lifts up workers and their families.

We also need to make it easier for businesses to understand where their own employment practices stand relative to the Baldridge job quality framework.

And we must clarify ways to improve what will truly make a difference to workers and companies’ overall performance.

Our Administration is laser-focused on this issue because it’s at the heart of America’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

The need for quality jobs is more important than ever as labor shortages risk slowing our recovery.

The number of job openings has soared to a record of 11 million compared to 6.7 million last year.

Not only is it harder for companies to hire, it’s also harder for them to retain workers.

Over 4 million people quit their jobs in July alone, to the point where people are calling this the “The Great Resignation.”

The trend is surprising given that there are currently 8 million unemployed workers!

All these data points suggest that the labor shortage businesses face today, isn’t just about workers – it’s also about job quality.

We all know having a job is more than just a paycheck – it’s about the dignity that comes with it. Providing for our families. Building a community of colleagues and friends. Workplace safety. And having a voice.

There isn’t a single silver bullet that defines a quality job – it’s all these elements working together in concert.

In today’s labor market, companies that provide quality jobs − where people want to work − have a clear competitive advantage.

And the first step toward making all our businesses competitive, is clearly defining what ingredients our businesses need to be more attractive to potential employees.

The Baldrige team’s Job Quality Framework provides us with an important, actionable foundation to build upon.

But it’s just the start of what I hope will be a broader national dialogue about job quality and ways we can all help improve it.

So please stay in touch with us, we want to hear from you. And I look forward to working with you on this critical issue moving foward.

With that, I’ll turn it back over to Dave.