On May 20, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board released a five-page call-to-action outlining three recommendations for the COVID-19 economic recovery. In the document, the Advisory Board highlights the need to build technological infrastructure in the United States to ensure that all Americans can access the tools and resources necessary for the future of work.
The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board
According to the U.S. Department of Commerce website, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board provides “advice and recommendations to the interagency National Council for the American Worker on ways to encourage the private sector and educational institutions to combat the skills crisis by investing in and increasing demand-driven education, training, and re-training, including training through apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities.”
- Expedite American workers’ return to employment and upward mobility by investing in career pathways and implementing skills-based hiring practices.
- Remove obstacles to the modernization of American education and training to accelerate reskilling and facilitate innovation in workforce development.
- Build the technological infrastructure necessary for the future of work.
Needed Focus on Technology
The call for enhanced technological infrastructure in the United States is duly needed as students, families, and employees have turned to technology to learn, work, and complete tasks remotely. However, many communities across the nation do not have access to a digital device or the internet, limiting their ability to reap the benefits of maintaining employment, schooling, and access to services such as curbside pickup. Prior to the pandemic, individuals often accessed online services at the library, their workplace, or other locations such as coffee shops that offer free wifi. Many of these locations are now closed or are providing limited services.
While the COVID-19 pandemic put an emphasis on the importance of technological infrastructure, the need to enhance the system has been long expressed by advocates and technology leaders in the field. For decades, many communities in the United States have not been able to access digital devices or the internet due to barriers such as cost, location, and training. The populations hardest hit by this divide consist of low-income families; African-American, Native-American, and Hispanic communities; rural households; seniors; and individuals with a disability. Thus, while this call is greatly appreciated, it is long overdue.
To learn more about the included calls-to-action, please read the full document.