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‘America Works’ Podcast a Celebration of Resiliency of American Workforce

by Library of Congress

‘America Works’ Podcast a Celebration of Resiliency of American Workforce

The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress is bringing more workers’ voices from around the country to listeners with the second season of “America Works,” a podcast series celebrating the diversity, resilience and creativity of the American workforce during a time of economic challenge and transition.

Each 10-minute episode of “America Works” introduces listeners to an individual worker whose first-person narrative adds to the wealth of our shared national experience. The first episode is now available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and at Subsequent episodes will be released each Thursday through June 3, 2021.

“America Works is a testament to the wisdom, wit, knowledge and dedication of today’s working Americans,” said Nancy Groce, host of “America Works” and senior folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center. “It is inspirational to listen to their stories and insights and realize how many committed, thoughtful and creative fellow citizens are out there working to improve their communities, support their families and build a better future for all of us.”

Listen to a trailer for “America Works” and subscribe here:

Given the serious economic challenges everyday Americans face during the COVID-19 pandemic, the stories told in “America Works” are a timely reminder of the spirit of the American workforce. The insights of those featured will be added to the historical record of the nation’s library.

Each “America Works” episode is based on a longer interview from the American Folklife Center’s ongoing Occupational Folklife Project, a multi-year initiative to document the culture of contemporary American workers. Over the past 12 years, fieldworkers from the American Folklife Center have interviewed more than 1,200 working Americans and documented their experiences in more than 100 professions. More than 500 of these full-length interviews are now available online.

This season of “America Works” reflects the occupational and regional diversity that characterize the entirety of the Occupational Folklife Project’s collection. In the season’s first episode, listeners are introduced to Sarah Fortin, a fish net maker in New Bedford, Massachusetts, one of the country’s most important fishing ports. Fortin, a local to the community, discusses gaining the necessary skillset for her trade and the challenges faced as a young female worker.

“There’s been a bit of a struggle here and there with some of the old-timers because they don’t, they’re just not used to seeing a woman that knows as much about the twine and stuff,” Fortin said. “I’ll get that little, like, ‘Damn, you’re really going for a girl. Like, look at you!’ You know? Stuff like that, but it’s all positive.”

Other featured workers of the season include Kim Spicer, an electrician and journey wire-woman, and a proud member of The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW), Local #3, in Queens, New York. Jennifer Sgro is a nurse practitioner who provides treatment to residents of Chicago for the nonprofit The Night Ministry’s outreach bus, which travels to different low-income neighborhoods every evening. Mike Peabody of Montpelier, Vermont, is a garbage man who also leads the New England community’s recycling program.

Eight new episodes join those from the first season of “America Works,” which launched in August 2020. The first season is available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and at