The Emma Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preparing American businesses and government for the coming TIDE™ (the technology-induced displacement of employees), announces its support of the 2019 Policy Report released by Washington State’s Future of Work Task Force. The report, “Exploring and Developing Policies for Shared Prosperity among Washington’s Businesses, Workers, and Communities,” presents a series of policy recommendations to proactively address the future of work.
Michael J. Lotito, President of the Emma Coalition and co-chair of Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute, remarked: “The State of Washington should be commended for recognizing and tackling head-on a situation that far too many are willing to overlook: that technology, automation and artificial intelligence are, as we speak, transforming the U.S. workforce more quickly than any other industrial revolution in history. These issues cut to the very core of the mission of the Emma Coalition, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to work with Task Force staff to inform and showcase their recommendations. We urge other states, localities and the federal government to follow suit, and develop concrete, long term strategies to prepare for and respond to technology-induced shifts in the modern workplace.”
Current estimates of potential U.S. job loss to automation range wildly, from a mere fraction to almost half of the workforce. At the same time, the role and effect of technology in creating new jobs is ever-changing, resulting in uncertainty for employers and workers alike. Beyond dispute is that these changes will have an increasingly dramatic impact on the workforce nationally and abroad.
In reaction to these shared concerns, the State of Washington’s report sets forth 17 policy recommendations, arranged under five general policy areas:
- Comprehensive Worker Upskilling and Lifelong Learning
- Use and Adoption of Technology in the Workplace
- Improved Labor Market Data and Credentialing Transparency
- Modernized Worker Support Systems
- Equal Access to Economic Development Resources Across Washington
Specific recommendations included within the report touch on a broad spectrum of measures, ranging from the audit of advanced technology and AI’s impact on the operations of state government, to fostering the use of Lifelong Learning Accounts (LiLAs) to encourage upskilling and continuing education as jobs are rapidly created and recreated by technology.
Washington State’s Future of Work Task Force was established by the state legislature in 2018 to develop policy recommendations and establish conditions for shared prosperity across the state as it addresses the challenges of the 21st century workforce. The Task Force included members of both the business and labor communities, as well as elected officials, and its report is the culmination of more than a year’s worth of research and stakeholder engagement across the state.