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CTA’s New American Jobs Summit is a Success

On May 3, policymakers, industry leaders and key influencers attended CTA’s New American Jobs Summit to look at the future of U.S. jobs.

On May 3, policymakers, industry leaders and key influencers attended CTA’s New American Jobs Summit to look at the future of U.S. jobs. Held at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, the Summit delved into how government and the private sector can collaborate to develop a competitive workforce, create new jobs and foster economic growth in the face of rapid technological innovation, an aging population and increased global competition.

Topics discussed during the day included education, immigration, automation, cyber defense, software jobs shortage, apprenticeships, labor laws, the sharing economy, infrastructure and alternative solutions. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, CTA, gave the opening address. “Our overall goal is innovation, and that innovation is what separates us from other countries,” said Shapiro. “Together, we’re shaping the new American workforce.”

Steve Koenig, senior director of market research, CTA, released results from CTA’s Future of Work Survey. Koenig explored the future of job skill requirements, job automation and hiring practices. “Fifty-two percent of tech industry executives plan to automate job functions in the next five years,” Koenig explained. “It’s getting easier, it’s getting better.”

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) Speaks at the Summit

Reps. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Jared Polis (D-CO) then took the stage to offer their perspectives on jobs. Rep. Foxx – an Airbnb host in her home in Boone, North Carolina – explained how the new Congress and administration give America the opportunity to create policies that close the widening skills gap. Rep Foxx said, “As leaders in Congress, we want your ideas and insights.” Rep. Polis highlighted the need for early education and community colleges to narrow the skills gap. Polis called for fixing the broken immigration system so the U.S. can import the best and brightest.

The Jobs Report followed, as CTA's Chief Economist Shawn DuBravac and Monster Government Solutions Director of Research Bruce Stephen highlighted the current status of jobs and projected job growth in the future. DuBravac explained how future jobs will be a collaborative effort between humans and machines. According to Monster's 2016 research, the tech sector has low unemployment and solid expansion. Stephen said, “This doesn't mean everyone needs to be a programmer, but you will need to be able to work in an environment increasingly infused with technology.” He added, “Your work is shifting across multiple spheres.”

Glenn DuBois, Chancellor, Virginia’s Community Colleges, took the stage next to discuss the most difficult jobs to fill in Virginia, and how the present and future are cyber-focused. “If you can fix something, there’s a middle class job out there for you,” DuBois stated. He spoke about how employers love the credentials that community colleges are offering because they are affordable, obtained in months not years and are “stackable.”

Brian Kelly, editor and chief content officer, U.S. News and World Report, moderated a conversation on connecting education and companies. Ty Ahmad-Taylor, CEO, THX Ltd.; Jon Chapman, co-founder and president, national partnerships, EverFi; Linda Livingstone, Ph.D., dean and professor of management, George Washington University School of Business; and Roy Skillicorn, senior director, Cisco Services Academy discussed topics including the importance of balancing science and math education with communications and softer skill sets, and the business case around company education and training to improve productivity. Ahmad-Taylor said young job applicants today are asking, “What role will I play in your company’s strategy?”

Airbnb's Chris Lehane Speaks at the Summit

Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, Chris Lehane, gave a presentation about the emergence of global network platforms and how the sharing economy inspires individuals. Airbnb is a platform that is economically empowering its top three users: millennials, women and urban families. Lehane explained how Airbnb’s model of maximizing underutilized assets such as homes is helping to fill the economic gap at a time when wages and salaries are stagnant. In 2016, the platform supported 134,000 U.S. main street jobs. He added, “There are 33.6 million empty spare bedrooms in the U.S.”

Four members of Congress also took turns offering their insights on the future of work. A co-founder of the Sharing Economy Caucus, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said the sharing economy is about efficiency and creatively destroying jobs while creating new opportunities far beyond what society can predict. A decade ago, our country wasn’t talking about the sharing economy or social media platforms. Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) said America has started to think about lifetime learning. Rep. Hakeem Jefferies (D-NY), shared how he enrolled his sons in coding classes and said he believes that the U.S. needs to provide young people with more educational opportunities. A CTA 2017 Digital Patriot honoree, Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA) stressed the importance of creating the right framework that provides consumers strong privacy and security options.

The summit included another opportunity for members of Congress to offer their perspectives. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) spoke about how America’s workforce, especially in Middle America, fear the automation will inevitability make their job obsolete. Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-NV), who began her own career as a software programmer, explained the country’s need for STEM education, especially for women and minorities.

Michael Petricone, senior vice president, government and regulatory affairs, CTA, moderated a panel that explored how disruptive technology creates local jobs. From 3D printing to artificial intelligence, emerging technology is allowing smaller tech startups to differentiate themselves from major companies, according to the panel of entrepreneurs and tech experts. Voodoo CEO Max Friefeld said, “Everything that is not critical thinking will be automated.”

Gary Shapiro returned to the stage to lead a panel that focused on innovation and immigration. Phone2Action President and Co-Founder Ximena Hartsock and Benjilock CEO Robbie Cabral, who are both immigrants, explained how immigrants are essential to ensuring that small tech businesses such as theirs can fill highly-skilled positions.

Michael Hayes, senior manager of government affairs, CTA, continued with a panel that analyzed workers’ skills. Panelists agreed that as the business world changes, so must the workers. “Technology is essential to offering that change, such as using iPads to train workers at Walmart,” said Walmart Federal Government Relations Director Micaela Fernandez Allen.

Gary Shapiro Speaks with Revolution LLC Chairman and CEO Steve Case

Jamie Boone, senior director, government affairs, CTA, led a conversation about how private sector programs could transform the job market. Robert Chiapetta, director, government affairs, Toyota Motor North American Inc., and Qualcomm’s VP of Government Affairs Alice Tornquist pointed to wide-reaching partnerships between the private and public sectors.

The summit wrapped up with a fireside chat between Gary Shapiro and Revolution LLC Chairman and CEO Steve Case. “We’re in the third wave of the internet,” Steve Case said. The third wave will be profound in terms of disruption and it will require a new mindset.” He stressed the importance of creativity, curiosity and collaboration for future entrepreneurs and internet-savvy businesspeople. Case highlighted healthcare and education as future disruptive markets he expects will be greatly changed by technology. He added, “Jobs are about creating dignity, purpose and self-respect.”

Watch video highlights from the summit and view the full agenda.

Cindy Stevens