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Preparing Our Workers for the Jobs of Tomorrow Starts Today

In today’s digital economy, technology has touched nearly every aspect of our daily lives, and the workplace is certainly no exception. Through the innovation of ITI member companies, businesses are transforming the way they conduct operations, deliver cutting-edge products and services to their consumers, and navigate the marketplace. As our workplaces evolve and adapt to these new technologies, so must our workforce. ITI and our members do not plan to sit idle: It is in our DNA to find solutions to ensure we equip America’s current and future workforce with the skills they need to succeed. By partnering with stakeholders across the tech industry, as well as with other sectors, policymakers, and the public, we can prepare our workforce for success in the next technological frontier.

Without a doubt, new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the types of jobs available – not only the 500,000 technology-related positions currently vacant in our sector, but also jobs within the manufacturing, agriculture, and energy industries. For example, in a report released earlier this month, Cognizant identifies 21 jobs that, given today’s economic and commercial trends, Americans could reasonably hold in the near-future – such as a chief trust officer and a man-machine teaming manager. It is essential that current and future employees possess the necessary education and training to fill these dynamic new roles.

As committed in ITI’s AI Policy Principles, our members are looking to partner with stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to deliver and invest in technical skills-training programs, as well as in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and computer science education. These efforts will assist both the existing workforce and future workforce in career development and job transitions.

The tech sector has not been idle in this task. Already, ITI member companies are leading efforts to prepare the U.S. workforce to navigate these new jobs and technologies, including AI. For instance, Autodesk recently announced a partnership with Village Capital to fund the creation of its workforce development and transition initiative, which is focused on entrepreneurship, job training, and upskilling in a world of automation. Other examples include Toyota’s Advanced Manufacturing Technician Program, which blends classroom instruction with on-site experience, allowing students who complete the program to be competitive for the countless, well-paying jobs available in advanced manufacturing. And there are other companies, like IBM, that are revolutionizing public education to adapt to the new digital world we live in. As part of the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) program, which encompasses grades 9 to 14, students graduate with an associate degree in applied science, engineering, computers, or other related disciplines, as well as the necessary technical skills that enable them to continue their studies or successfully enter the workforce.

And while the tech sector is committed to strengthening the skills of the American workforce, success cannot be achieved by our industry alone. Policymakers must also make a concerted effort to better prepare U.S. students and workers alike.

This is why ITI has long advocated that Congress pass bipartisan legislation reauthorizing the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act in order to bolster career and technical education in the United States. The House passed reauthorizing legislation earlier this year, and we urge the Senate to do the same. It is bills like this and the CHANCE in TECH Act, which strengthen apprenticeship programs in the tech sector, that make for great starting points for Congress to ensure our workforce can garner the skills it needs to navigate the demands of the digital economy.

As we continue to drive innovation and rethink what it means to work, we are animated by our commitment to deploy and grow these developments responsibly. We look forward to the positive impact emerging technologies can provide and will to continue to work with lawmakers to make sure we all reap the rewards of these boundless possibilities.

Public Policy Tags: Skills/STEM