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How State Governments Are Working to Meet the Demands of the Future Workforce


Jennifer Taylor, VP, U.S. Jobs, Consumer Technology Association

The Council of State Governments (CSG) is championing modern workforce development efforts and policies to help prepare Americans for 21st century jobs. Last month CSG brought together state elected officials and industry leaders to participate in the new CSG Future of Work National Task Force.

I was fortunate to be a participant on one of the four subcommittees called, Workforce of Tomorrow, representing the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®. This subcommittee discussed ways to meet the demands of the future workforce by fostering broad opportunities that lead to meaningful, living-wage, high-quality work in an ever-changing world. The goal is for all Americans to have the opportunity to work in their communities throughout their lives.

Here are five key takeaways from our discussion about the future of work.

The Dignity of Work

At the core of what state governments do should be to communicate the benefits of having a meaningful job or career and highlight the mindset of dignity of work. Members of the subcommittee all agreed that:

  • Work creates purpose, meaning and value for an individual.
  • A person’s intrinsic motivation is a key driver and should begin to be fostered at a young age.
  • People should be encouraged to do jobs that they like to do.
  • Americans need to focus on lifelong learning and, to keep their skill set current, they must commit to lifelong learning.

Create More Pathways

From apprenticeships and internships to creating horizontal and vertical stackable credentials that are industry-recognized, organizations should be creating more pathways for individuals to obtain roles in skilled jobs. Examples include the following:

  • Personalized learning options, because not everyone learns in the same manner.
  • Alternative testing to identify skills and aptitude.
  • Competency-based education for credentials.

Partnerships Are Critically Important

Businesses, educators and the government must be aligned regarding the future of work.

Across the board, we should make investments in human capital to ensure that workers have skills in greatest demand. Human capital is an employer’s greatest asset and, as a result, investing in keeping employees’ skills current is essential.

Mitigate Barriers

Despite strides in the right direction, organizations still face many challenges. One way we can start to address some of those challenges is to shift our mindset about four-year college degrees by

  • Considering career-readiness and college-readiness to be on equal footing.
  • Changing the narrative about stigmatized alternatives to the four-year degree.

States to Be Role Models

States are encouraged to share their successful workforce policies for other states to emulate.

Learn more about the Consumer Technology Association’s 21st Century Workforce Council.

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