Workforce Development

Investing in the workforce of the future

November 8, 2017  • Alastair Fitzpayne

Innovation has long been a driving force behind economic growth in the U.S., transforming the economy and creating opportunity. Today, technology and automation continue to reshape the American workforce and the skills needed to secure and maintain a job. U.S. workers will need to acquire skills that are not easily automated or that complement everchanging technology. But they face a challenge: data suggests a steady decline in the amount employers have invested in training their employees.

In May, the Future of Work Initiative released a new proposal to create a Worker Training Tax Credit. The proposal is modeled on the popular Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit and could be used by small and large businesses to invest in training for their low- and middle-income workers.

Last week, we were encouraged to see Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Bob Casey (D-PA), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduce the Investing in American Workers Act.  Similar to the Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative proposal, the bill incentivizes employers to increase their investment in skills training for their workers.

As Congress considers comprehensive tax reform and ways to increase the competitiveness of U.S. companies, they should examine policies that increase workforce training investments. Employers play an important role in preparing workers for long-term career success. While the nature of work continues to evolve, we need to ensure that workers have access to training – helping them to acquire the skills needed to succeed in the jobs of the future.