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Around the world, we look to the government to solve some of our biggest problems — but our best intentions to innovate are often cut down to size as we get mired in the details. Despite the government’s ability to provide resources that include infrastructure, healthcare, and industrial developments, innovation can be stymied by bureaucratic processes and red tape.  

Enter COVID. As the pandemic spread like wildfire across the globe and millions of people lost their lives and livelihoods, innovation became more necessary.

Prior to COVID’s proliferation, increased automation displaced several workers in manufacturing, transportation and hospitality — eliminating jobs that just won’t come back.

Mass unemployment caused by the pandemic coupled with the advancement in automation, hastened the need for policy makers to quickly give their constituents access to skills that will get people back to work — especially in the jobs of the future.


Upskilling For Global Economic Development

A lot has been said about the need of upskilling and reskilling to bridge the gaps between worker’s current skills and the skills needed for the jobs that are at the heart of the Fourth Industrial Revolution — artificial intelligence, data science, machine learning, programming.

The recent Upskilling for Shared Prosperity report by the World Economic Forum in partnership with PwC highlighted how wide-scale investment in upskilling can potentially boost the GDP by $6.5 trillion by 2030.

In fact, the report indicated that upskilling can offer the biggest gains to those countries that have larger skill gaps and more potential for skill development to bring the workforce in pace with the technological advancements. Countries like China, USA and India can gain more as a percentage of GDP.

Upskilling For Global Job Creation

Another challenge that technology poses is job replacement. Many fear that emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, automation, robotics and more will replace human jobs.

While the truth is that AI will replace some jobs while others will stick around, upskilling could also lead to a net creation of more than 5.3 million jobs by 2030. The number of jobs that require creativity, innovation and empathy will rise, as will the need for information technology skills.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs 2020 report highlights that the adoption of new technologies is already leading to reallocation of job roles between human workers and machines. The report also outlines how the demand for certain job roles will increase and decrease across industries.

Top Five Jobs With Increasing DemandTop Five Jobs  With Decreasing Demand
Data Analyst and Scientists Data Entry Clerks
AI and Machine Learning SpecialistsAdministrative and Executive Secretaries
Big Data SpecialistsAccounting, Bookkeeping and Payroll Clerks
Digital Marketing & Strategy SpecialistsAccountants and Auditors
Process Automation SpecialistsAssembly and Factory Workers

How Can Local and State Governments Enable Upskilling

There’s no doubt about the importance of upskilling employees by enterprises and that enterprises need to innovate their training methodologies to keep up with the latest trends. 

But is this enough? We need close collaboration with the local and state governments to augment the upskilling efforts. These institutions are in a unique position to deliver talent at scale to their employer partners — while also giving them a chance to associate with positive changes in the community. 

For instance, through the Department of Labor, the United States Government allocates over $3 billion a year for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The initiative is aimed at strengthening and improving the country’s workforce to prepare them for high quality jobs of the future. But the allocation of funds has been a major challenge; as of June 2020, almost $1.8 billion in WIOA funds remain unspent. 

Not just this, the WIOA requires all States and direct grantees of the Department to collect and report information on some parameters of performance. These are:

  • Employment Rate
  • Median Earnings
  • Credential Attainment
  • Measurable Skill Gains
  • Effectiveness in Serving Employers

So what can state and local governments do to overcome the challenges and do better on these success parameters? Innovate.

A Call to Action For Governments to Innovate

State and local governments need to innovate their offering to reach out to the workforce. The first step in this direction is finding the right platform — online learning platforms, community colleges, bootcamps, universities or a partner like Udacity. 

Here’s a quick comparison of how these platforms fare on five important success metrics.

Creating Lasting Impact with Udacity

Upskilling isn’t a question of either the public sector or private sector. Rather, it has to be a public-private partnership. Globally, many governments have partnered with Udacity to offer scholarships to upskill the workforce.

One such initiative is the Digital Career Transformation: Columbus program where we have launched a WIOA-funded scholarship program, offering residents of Franklin County the opportunity to upskill/reskill for a tech career, in a four-month hands-on program.

Through Udacity for Government, we develop and deliver government and donor-funded programs to implement large capacity-building initiatives that upskill hundreds of thousands of students.

So, if you are looking for innovative ways to upskill your workforce then connect with our team here.

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Ritika Pradhan
Ritika Pradhan
Ritika is the Brand Communications Manager at Udacity and is passionate about bringing inspirational student stories to light. When not talking to the amazing Udacity students, she can be found reading an article or watching a video on the internet.