Engage and take action!

If you have an evidence-based idea you’d like to convey to lawmakers, or a question they should ask witnesses during this hearing, kindly send them to sciencepolicy@fas.org. We will anonymize your submission and make sure the House Education and Labor Committee sees it.

Earning a living in 2025, 2030, and beyond to be discussed by House Education and Labor Committee

As technology rapidly evolves, the nature and responsibilities of our jobs will too. The ability to adapt to changing workforce needs can significantly impact the quality of life of individual employees, families, or communities. It also contributes to US economic competitiveness.

Lawmakers like California Governor Gavin Newsom are already planning for the disruption of the traditional workplace. Governor Newsom recently established a Future of Work Commission to “develop a new social compact for California workers, based on an expansive vision for economic equity that takes work and jobs as the starting point.”

During its hearing, the House Education and Labor Committee wants to engage with witnesses on topics such as lifelong learning, employee displacement due to technology, access to reskilling opportunities and higher education, and transitioning to more technology-centered workplaces. We need your help to ask these questions in Congress and raise Members’ awareness of these important issues.

This website provides you an opportunity to tell Congress what issues should be discussed during this critical hearing, and to access objective resources to learn about the issues. You can submit questions that lawmakers should ask witnesses, personal stories on your experiences related to the changing technological landscape of work, or your general thoughts on how Congress can help workers adapt and respond to those changes. You will find several sample questions below.

Hearing details

Main topic: The future of work and ensuring the competitiveness of workers

What: House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment hearing: “The future of work: Ensuring workers are competitive in a rapidly changing economy”

Who: The witnesses who will testify during this hearing are…

  • Mr. Seth D. Harris, J.D. | Former Acting US Secretary of Labor and Deputy US Secretary of Labor; Visiting Professor, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Cornell University; Washington, DC
  • Ms. Nova Gattman | Deputy Director for External Affairs, Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board; Olympia, WA
  • Mr. James A. Paretti, Jr. | Shareholder, Littler Mendelson P.C.; Treasurer, Emma Coalition; Washington, DC
  • Mr. Brad Markell | Executive Director, AFL-CIO Working for America Institute; Washington, DC

When: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 at 10:15 am ET

Where: 2175 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC / Webcast

Nonpartisan analysis and research

Sample questions for lawmakers to ask witnesses. Please share yours for lawmakers.

It is estimated that half of the work performed today by people can be automated with present-day artificial intelligence and robotic technologies. In order for workers to be successful in the future workplace, they must be able to update their skills on the job.

Are employers ready to foster a workplace environment of lifelong learning to adapt to this technology? If so, please explain. If not, how can they change?

The National Academies released a report in 2016 which posited that in order to foster the next generation of successful workers, universities and businesses should establish partnerships to provide students with work-based learning opportunities and align curricula with the needs of industry.

What do you think these partnerships do well? What can be improved?

A study performed by the Department of Labor in 2012 found that workers who completed registered apprenticeships earned about $240,000 more than workers in a similar position who did not complete an apprenticeship over the course of their lifetimes.

With the changing nature of work requiring more hands-on training, like that which can be gained through apprenticeships, how can the federal government expand apprenticeship programs and encourage workers to apply?

Follow-up: In 2017, it was found that out of all the workers who completed registered apprenticeships, only 7.3 percent were women, 16 percent were Latino, and 10 percent were black. How can we shrink this gap and provide the economic mobility opportunities offered through apprenticeship programs to more women and minorities?

The US federal government is not alone in being confronted with the impacts scientific and technological advances will have on the workplace.

What can Congress learn from effective policies that US state governments, or even other nations, may have implemented to prepare for the future of work and the challenges this future will bring to reskilling or upskilling workers?

An allowance providing tax benefits for employer-provided tuition assistance is written into US tax code. Section 127 of the tax code, which describes this benefit, hasn’t seen its eligible amount – at just over $5,000 – increased since 1996.

Considering our rapidly changing economy, and how workers may have to adapt, should Congress revisit the amount of this tax credit? Please explain.

Over the past decade or so, both private- and public-sector investment in workforce training, as a share of GDP, has declined by about 30%.

What accounts for this and how should Congress be thinking about this drop off? Please explain.

The advent of the Information Age has brought on a sudden transition from more traditional US industries like manufacturing or mining to an economy largely based on information technology.

How can we ensure that US citizens who will be entering the workforce in the coming years, and those who are in the workforce currently, are equipped with the digital skills needed to remain productive in a fiercely competitive global economy?

With advances in robotics, advanced manufacturing, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence, more and more work promises to be automated.

What are your predictions for the aggregate effect of automation on the employment of US workers? How can we be sure to realize the potential benefits? How can we avoid potential pitfalls?

Both the public and private sectors have a stake in ensuring that Americans are equipped to make valuable work contributions as we move forward into the future.

In your view, what are the appropriate public- and private-sector roles in preparing Americans for the future of work?

Your evidence-based question could be here!

Your evidence-based question could be here!

Questions marked with * indicate contributions by Stephen Ezell, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF). More sample questions will be added as objective contributions are received from the expert community. Email your submissions to us at sciencepolicy@fas.org! Last updated Monday 12/16/19.

Quick reads

Workforce automation: Better data needed to assess and plan for effects of advanced technologies on jobs – Government Accountability Office brief

Apprenticeships serve as model of skills-based training for jobs of the future – Aspen Institute brief

Robotics and the future of production and work – Information Technology and Innovation Foundation brief

Improving higher education’s responsiveness to STEM workforce needs: Identifying analytical tools and regional best practices – National Academies Board on Higher Education and Workforce brief

How to reform worker-training and adjustment policies for an era of technological change – ITIF brief

Work in the digital age: Challenges of the fourth industrial revolution – Policy Network brief

Deep dives

Vulnerable youth: Employment and job training programs – Congressional Research Service report

What does the gig economy mean for workers? – CRS report

The manufacturing revolution: How AI will transform manufacturing and the workforce of the future – Information Technology and Innovation Foundation report

Building America’s skilled technical workforce – National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report

The future of work: A guide for transatlantic policymakers – ITIF report

Information technology and the US workforce: Where are we and where do we go from here? – NASEM report

Tech policy to-do list – ITIF report

Resources

Executive branch reports

The skilled technical workforce: Crafting America’s science and engineering enterprise – National Science Board report

An effectiveness assessment and cost-benefit analysis of registered apprenticeship in 10 states – Department of Labor report

Letters and press clips

The future of work in 2020 and beyond – Forbes piece

The view from Capitol Hill: Legislating the future of work – Washington Post podcast

How beneficial could apprenticeships be in the future of work – Forbes piece

Want a white-collar career without college debt? Become an apprentice – New York Times piece

The new job for life: Learning – Washington Post piece

Bipartisan bills

21st Century Energy Workforce Act, H.R.398

Developing the National Security Workforce Act, H.R.2756

American Workforce Empowerment Act, H.R.4469

Workforce Development through Post-Graduation Scholarships Act of 2019, H.R.4038/S.676

Strengthening Our Rural Health Workforce Act of 2019, S.2902

Youth Workforce Readiness Act, H.R.5236

Engage and take action!

Contribute your nonpartisan, objective statements and questions. We will collate your submissions and post them here – anonymously – as part of this resource for policymakers. Submit to sciencepolicy@fas.org!