Economic Opportunity – Next100

Economic Opportunity


At Next100, we believe all people should be able to support themselves and their families, and with dignity. Next100 is focused on researching, developing, and advocating for policies that bolster worker power, expand employment opportunities, and improve economic outcomes, particularly for those who are most vulnerable to shifts in the economic landscape.

We’ve Been Here Before: Embracing All of What Today’s Labor Movement Has to Offer

We are in a critical period of labor experimentation, but that's not new. Given the need to strengthen worker rights, we need to embrace the fluidity and diversity of all of today’s labor movement organizations, because out of this will come greater worker activism and innovation.

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Who's Working on It

Lindsey Cazessus Economic Opportunity

Lindsey is an advocate for economic justice and a first-generation college graduate. At Next100, Lindsey’s work focuses on the design and implementation of compassionate, effective policies to end poverty by working to expand and improve safety net benefits like the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and advance policies like universal paid leave to support all families, drawing on her experience growing up in low-income, rural Alabama.

Vidal Guzman Criminal Justice

Vidal Guzman is a New York City-based community organizer who has worked with the End Qualified Immunity Campaign, Black Lives Matter, and Just Leadership USA. At Next100, Vidal works to end the forced labor of incarcerated people currently allowed under the U.S. Constitution and New York State law, and to improve wages and training opportunities for the incarcerated. Vidal draws on his experience as a formerly incarcerated young person, initially incarcerated at 16, after being tried as an adult.

Taif Jany Immigration

Taif Jany is a Policy Entrepreneur at Next100 and a rising immigration reform policy expert. Taif’s journey from Iraq to the United States has helped him understand both the challenges of our current immigration system and the strengths immigrants bring to our communities. At Next100, Taif focuses on developing policies to strengthen our economy through immigrant integration and culturally inclusive communities.

Portrait of Michael Zaki Smith, he has closely cut hair, and a short beard.
Michael “Zaki” Smith Criminal Justice

Michael “Zaki” Smith is an entrepreneur and activist with more than fifteen years of experience in youth empowerment and social justice. At Next100, his work focuses on dismantling the collateral consequences of incarceration, policies that have impacted him personally as a formerly incarcerated individual.

Portrait of Phela Townsend, she has a very curly bob and a grey blazer.
Phela Townsend Economic Opportunity

Phela Townsend is scholar-activist on a mission to transform how we think about—and value—labor and work in our society. At Next100, her work examines how today’s workers and labor organizations are using digital tools to rebuild worker power in the twenty-first century. Phela is also a PhD candidate at the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations.

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