Elliott Brown

Ashoka Fellow
San Francisco, United States
Fellow Since 2005
My work: inspiring permanent change in the lives of low-wage workers


This profile was prepared when Elliott Brown was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
Elliott’s idea is to replace the failed job placement model for low-income workers with a powerful new career development model. His vision is twofold: change the attitudes of low-income workers about their own potential to succeed, and convince employers that entry-level workers, far from being hopeless cases, are individuals who care about their future—individuals who can be helped to move up to more responsible, better-paying jobs.
Elliott aims to change the system so that entry-level workers expect to advance in the workforce, and have the skills and support they need to achieve that expectation.
Springboard Forward helps employers retain and develop their entry-level workers, and helps the workers identify and pursue careers with advancement opportunities. The key is to demonstrate to employers the economies of an efficient, dedicated “first rung” workforce, and the benefits of investing in the advancement capacity of their low-wage workers. For employers, the return on investment is lower turnover and improved morale. For the workers the employer’s investment enables them to work toward jobs with increased income, job satisfaction and personal fulfillment.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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