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Policy Solutions to Workforce Issues

The Future of the Workforce Will Depend on Policy Decisions

Aug. 3, 2023
With labor force participation still behind pre-pandemic levels, changes are needed to transform the workforce, says a new study.

A new report, The American Workforce Transformation – Challenges and Opportunities, issued by Littler, looks at the key factors contributing to ongoing labor shortages, including the growing “skills gap,” and the industry sectors that have been most impacted.

“The future of work will depend on the policies we implement today,” said Michael Lotito, co-chair of Littler's  Workplace Policy Institute, in a statement. “Our report shows that with labor force participation still behind pre-pandemic levels and employers still struggling to fill open jobs, significant changes are needed to transform the American workforce. We have a challenging task ahead, but if we take the right steps now, the payoff will be felt for years to come.” 

The report also examines the benefits and disruptions that artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies are bringing to the workplace and provides insights on what can be done to meet the challenges.  

The report provides several recommended policy proposals 

  • Modernizing federal labor market reporting data: A critical first step in leveraging AI and advanced technologies to support a skills-based approach to employment is providing accurate and accessible data in real-time to job seekers and employers. 
  • Reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Given that WIOA is the nation’s primary workforce development law and its reauthorization ended in 2020, it is imperative that the law be reauthorized and reformed to reflect technological advances in the workplace and other changes.   
  • Diversifying and Expanding the National Apprenticeship System: Registered Apprenticeship Programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor have a long and successful history in the skilled trades. To expand beyond these traditional fields, the Department can partner with other key industries and sectors of the economy to meet employer demand. 
  • Considering short-term federal Pell grants for job-training programs: Expanding Pell grants to include short-term job training and workforce programs would greatly enhance the nation’s ability to provide career pathways to workers and allow employers to recruit qualified talent. 

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