The DeBruce Foundation conducts and commissions career-related research to gain insights for product development. These examples illustrate how the rigorous projects inform approaches across the lifespan. 

Employment Empowerment

What does it take to build careers with higher wages, less risk of unemployment, better benefits, more autonomy over work conditions, and the ability to build savings? In other words, what does it take to build an empowered career?

In fall 2020, The DeBruce Foundation initiated a nationally representative longitudinal trend survey to assess patterns of employment, income, and work conditions in America. After surveying a total of 16,000 people, the findings resulted in a first-of-its-kind research report that identified two key factors for building empowered careers: 

  1. Career literacy: a vision for your career, self-awareness of your skills and interests, capacity to communicate your professional value, robust job search skills, and the capability to explore multiple career pathways. 
  2. Network strength: reliable and supportive connections with people spanning a diversity of industries, education levels, and social experiences.

In the study, those who rated high in both career literacy and network strength earned 55% more in annual salary and considered 17% more jobs outside their current career path. Additionally, 26% more of them are currently employed. They also reported having better benefits, more control over work conditions, and more savings for emergency and long-term needs.

Both career literacy and network strength can be built and developed, which means we, together with our community partners, can help individuals build empowered careers. 

The full research report is available at and provides actionable insights for workforce development professionals, educators, and all who are invested in helping individuals build thriving career paths.

“… When we elevate [job seekers’] career literacy and professional network, they achieve greater career success and satisfaction.”

Download the Released 2023 Mission Report