On March 4 and 5, 2022, the Institute for Women’s Policy Research will host a conference on “The U.S. Care Infrastructure: From Promise to Reality” with the American University Program on Gender Analysis in Economics and the Carework Network. With the fate of the Build Back Better agenda uncertain, and the U.S. care infrastructure in imminent need of overhaul, expert panelists will discuss what is necessary to ensure a comprehensive and equitable care infrastructure both for people who do care work and for those who need care during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The conference will serve as a space to collectively reflect on and push for research and policy change on care in the United States to turn promises into practice.

The conference will feature 50 expert speakers from advocacy organizations at the forefront of the fight for a stronger care infrastructure, unions that protect and improve the lives of care workers, federal and local government offices that make meaningful policy change, and influential academic departments that change how we understand the care economy.

The conference will begin by taking stock of the current state of the care economy, featuring six national experts in conversation with IWPR’s President and CEO, C. Nicole Mason. Speakers like President and CEO of Promundo US, Gary Barker, and President of the National Partnership for Women & Families, Jocelyn Frye, bring high-level insights on the power of care investment to improve the lives of women, parents of all genders, and families of all kinds.

Workshop topics will cover the gamut of issues in the U.S. care economy. In “Macro Economics of the Care Infrastructure,” experts will break down the economic impact of investing in care and the mechanics involved. “Care for Older Adults & People with Disabilities” will focus on overhauling long-term care systems for people with disabilities and aging adults. “Building the Child Care Infrastructure: State-Level Challenges” will lift up policies to support parents and expand access to quality child care. “Opportunities & Issues for the Care Workforce” will discuss ways to improve conditions and workforce development for workers in care jobs, with a special focus on immigrant workers and labor organizing in the care sector. And “Expanding Child Care Beyond Usual Hours: Employers, Unions, and Government” will discuss the role of employers and unions in expanding child care access, taking a closer look at innovative solutions beyond usual care center hours.

The closing plenary will take a forward-looking approach to discuss the future of the care infrastructure. Featured speakers include Director of the Women’s Bureau, Wendy Chun-Hoon; Executive Director of Family Values @ Work, Josie Kalipeni; and Professor Emerita of Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Nancy Folbre. Reflecting on the interconnected issues discussed throughout the conference, these experts will envision a bold future and a roadmap to a comprehensive and equitable care infrastructure.

Register now for the conference (remote and in-person): https://www.american.edu/cas/economics/us-care-infrastructure-from-promise-to-reality.cfm