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February 2020
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TD Magazine

Public Sector Is Looking Closely at the Future of Work

US federal and state bodies are considering policy and regulatory initiatives.

More and more, the adage "The future of work is now" is proving to be true. Yet, what all is entailed with this aphorism remains ambiguous.

In The Future of Work: Technology, Predictions, and Preparing the Workforce whitepaper, the Association for Talent Development Research team notes, "While much is still unknown about how technology advances will affect organizations in the next five years, there are certainly ways talent development leaders can ensure their workforce is ready to meet these challenges." Among the recommendations are having formal discussions about preparing for the future of work, identifying reskilling needs, and developing employees in future skills.

The future of work concept also is leading the government, including the US Congress and state government, to take a closer look. To better understand what the future of work means and what can and should be done on a policy and regulatory front as it relates to changes in technology, Reps. Lisa Blunt Rochester (Delaware) and Bryan Steil (Wisconsin)formed the Congressional Future of Work Caucus.

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In her November 13, 2019, Daily Labor Report article, "New Caucus Shows Congress Preparing to Focus on ‘Future of Work,'" Jaclyn Diaz explains, "The caucus's first mission will be to define the technologies, sectors, and jobs included under the Future of Work banner. The term has come to encompass issues such as automation on the job, the use of artificial intelligence tools in hiring, and gig economy worker rights, but it also extends to industries like telemedicine, agriculture, banking, and retail."

At the state level, California Governor Gavin Newsom has established a Future of Work Commission. Representatives serving on the commission include those from technology, labor, business, education, and other sectors. The commission expects to release an interim report in May 2020. Among the questions the commission is tackling: "What is our vision for work and jobs in the future?" and "How can we chart a path to reach that vision?"

About the Author

Patty Gaul is a senior writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD).

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