Learn more about JFF
Learn more about JFF


Language Matters

How to Use Words to Promote Equitable Economic Advancement for All


At Jobs for the Future, we believe that language matters to our mission of driving equitable economic advancement for all. The words we use every day can perpetuate and exacerbate inequality. But they also can educate, empower, and drive positive change.
That’s why we’ve been examining our use of language and reevaluating how to describe the people our work centers on. Find our latest thinking in our user-friendly Language Matters Guide. 
Get JFF's Language Matters Guide
The guide builds on our 40 years of experience in the education and workforce ecosystem. We suggest how to write and speak about people in ways that promote equity, dignity, and a focus on each individual's potential—rather than labeling them based on the systemic barriers they face.
Topics covered include skills and socioeconomic status, race and ethnicity, criminal justice, and more. Because language is fluid, our recommendations will evolve. Look for updates here. 

For guidelines that focus on advancing Black learners and workers, see our related resource:
The Language of Racial Economic Equity.

JFF has begun sharing the language insights we’ve gained in customized workshops with partners. Want to learn more? Contact us at LanguageMatters@jff.org