past event
Employment and Jobs

Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs

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About This Event

This summer, we’ve been speaking with employers to learn how businesses are adopting technology in the workplace, and if COVID-19 accelerated these efforts; how digital transformation is impacting skill needs for frontline workers; and what approaches businesses are taking to support development of digital skills for frontline workers.This virtual event looks at what we have learned from employers and what can and should be done to help workers build the skills they need to advance in the workplace. This is the third part of a year-long study looking at how COVID-19 and heightened attention to racial inequality were affecting businesses, their operations, skill needs, hiring and HR practices, and education and training programs.


Sept 22: “Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs.” Feat @TACC_News, @Burning_Glass, @WalmartOrg, @ContainerStore, @stradaeducation, and @NatlGovsAssoc. Hosted by @upskillamerica.

How are businesses adopting technology in the workplace? Has the pandemic accelerated these efforts? Find out with @upskillamerica and special guests on Sept 22. RSVP and join the conversation by tweeting #talkopportunity.

How are businesses building digital skills for frontline workers? Join @upskillamerica on Sept 22 for a virtual discussion with @TACC_News, @Burning_Glass, @WalmartOrg, @ContainerStore, @stradaeducation, and @NatlGovsAssoc.

What have businesses learned from the challenges of the past year? Join @upskillamerica on Sept 22 to hear how companies are adapting their operations, skill needs, hiring and HR practices, and education and training programs.


Photo of Andres Alcantar

Andres Alcantar
Senior Workforce Lead, Texas Association of Community Colleges @TACC_News

Andres Alcantar is principal at Alcantar Public Policy Consulting, providing a full range of public affairs, management, and consulting services.

Andres recently served as executive vice president and chief operations officer at the Texas Association of Business, the state chamber of commerce, working to advance policies to support a strong business and job creation climate for Texas employers.

Alcantar previously served as chairman and commissioner representing the public at the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). He was appointed in 2008 and designated chairman in May 2012. At TWC, Andres helped build and lead the premier workforce development system in the country for a decade. Alcantar worked with leaders across the state to implement solutions to meet the needs of Texas’ vast array of industries, strengthen regional public private partnerships, and build education partnerships to advance the development of a skilled, strong, and competitive workforce.

Prior to his appointment, he served as deputy director of Governor Rick Perry’s Budget, Planning, and Policy Division, advising the governor on federal, state, and local issues, and providing executive oversight to state boards and commissions. His focus included workforce, business, economic development, education, and competitiveness issues. Alcantar also served as an advisor to former Governor George W. Bush in the Office of Budget and Planning working with state boards, commissions, and the Texas Legislature. He advised on business regulatory, health and human services, child welfare, workforce, and economic development issues.

Andres previously served as a director for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, where he worked with the commissioner and other agency heads on strategy development and enterprise reforms.

Andres received a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Public Administration from Texas Tech University.

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Kelly Ryan Bailey @kellyryanbailey
Global Skills Evangelist, Emsi Burning Glass @Burning_Glass

Kelly Ryan Bailey is an entrepreneur, podcaster, global skills evangelist, social impactor, transformational leader, and mama of three kiddos. For over 17 years she has helped people navigate their education and career by using data and technology to create innovative skills-based hiring and learning solutions for companies, educators, governments, initiatives, and more. Kelly is currently the global skills evangelist at Emsi Burning Glass, the podcast host of ‘Let’s Talk About Skills, Baby’, the founder and CEO of Skills Baby, the co-founder of Growth Network Podcasts, and a founder member of Equity Cities.

In her role at Emsi, Kelly focuses on facilitating the change to a skills-based hiring and learning economy through open skills data standards, innovative products and services, and global initiatives and partnerships.

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Amy Blair @amyblair63
Research Director, The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program @AspenWorkforce

Amy Blair is research director of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program. She has served as lead researcher/evaluator on a wide range of projects designed to promote learning about highly promising poverty alleviation, sectoral workforce development, and self-employment strategies implemented by community-based and public organizations nationwide. Her expertise includes learning-focused and highly participatory approaches to process and outcomes evaluation, primary research, strategic grant-making, and learning meeting design and facilitation. Amy’s work focuses on research that is designed to identify and explore innovative and emerging new practices and strategies and is geared toward program capacity-building and field-building. Amy is the author of numerous publications and has presented findings from the Economic Opportunities Program’s work for local, state, and national workforce development audiences. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Patti Constantakis @patticonstan
Director, Corporate Philanthropy, @WalmartOrg

Patti Constantakis, PhD, is a director on the Economic Opportunity team for She leads the Foundation’s Equitable Talent Systems portfolio that seeks to engage employers in more equitable hiring and advancement practices. She brings decades of experience working to increase economic opportunities for underserved adult learners. Previously at Digital Promise, Patti was the director of adult learning and workforce development initiatives, where her work focused on using technology to build the literacy and numeracy skills of our lowest-skilled frontline workers. She also developed a competency-based digital skills program, backed by Facebook, for nontraditional adult learners and workers. Prior to Digital Promise, Patti was the director of product, content, and curriculum at and was responsible for developing e-learning programs for teachers, as well as apps and other electronic resources for immigrant parents. In the years prior to GreatSchools, Patti worked with several startups, designing and developing products for community college students and other nontraditional adult learners.

Patti grew up on the US-Mexico border and, as a Latina, is fully bilingual in Spanish and English. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Spanish from New Mexico State University and her Ph.D. and Master of Arts in Communications from the University of Texas, Austin.

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Maureen Conway @conway_maureen
Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Executive Director, Economic Opportunities Program @AspenWorkforce

Maureen Conway serves as vice president at the Aspen Institute and as executive director of the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program (EOP). EOP works to expand individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity.

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Reggie Davis
Senior Director of Distribution, The Container Store @ContainerStore

Reggie Davis is a supply chain leader who provides strategic and tactical direction for driving processes and equipment and facility optimization with an emphasis on ecommerce fulfillment. As senior director of distribution at The Container Store, he oversees an omni-channel distribution network, engineering, training, and distribution operations. He also drives a continuous improvement culture and is responsible for developing and executing improvement initiatives and maximizing service levels while lowering total delivered costs. Reggie is a proud alum of the University of Kansas (KU) and has several years of leading successful supply chain operations for various Fortune 500 companies including Walmart, Target, and Kohl’s department stores. Outside of work, Reggie is in senior leadership at his church and enjoys traveling with his family and watching KU basketball.

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Daryl Graham @DarylAGraham
Senior Vice President of Philanthropy, Strada Education Network @stradaeducation

As senior vice president of philanthropy, Daryl A. Graham oversees Strada Education Network’s strategic philanthropic investments and overall grant management efforts.

Prior to joining Strada in 2017, Graham spent 15 years with JPMorgan Chase & Co., in Wilmington, Delaware, serving more than a decade as vice president and relationship manager where he identified grant-making, sponsorship, and volunteerism opportunities for the firm.

His background also includes accounting and auditing positions at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., ConocoPhillips, and General Electric.

He has served on a variety of nonprofit boards, including the Philanthropy Delaware Board of Directors, which he chaired. Graham has been honored for his leadership with the YMCA Black Achiever in Business and Industry Award, the H. Fletcher Brown Leadership Award, and the Community Reinvestment Act Leadership Award.

Graham is a graduate of Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Photo of Rachael StephensRachael Stephens @RLBStephens
Program Director, Workforce Development & Economic Policy, National Governors Association @NatlGovsAssoc

Rachael Stephens serves as the director of the workforce development and economic policy program in the National Governors Association (NGA) Center for Best Practices. Rachael oversees a team of analysts providing research, policy guidance and technical assistance to governors and state leaders on expanding economic opportunity by removing barriers to economic participation; fostering economic dynamism; supporting quality job growth; and providing training and employment opportunities that support employers’ talent needs and lead to family-sustaining careers. Current areas of focus for her team include entrepreneurship and small business growth, best practices in workforce system governance, and most recently, the launch of the NGA Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN), a first-of-its-kind nonpartisan learning and action collaborative bringing together state governments, industry leaders, research and technical assistance organizations, and philanthropic organizations to advance governors’ workforce innovation priorities for their states.

Before joining NGA, Rachael was the economic policy fellow at Third Way, where her research and policy work with Congress focused on workforce development, infrastructure, automation, and the future of work. Prior to that, she aided the launch of the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline and managed career-mentoring and job-connection programs for low-income adults in the New York City area at StreetWise Partners. StreetWise is a nonprofit founded on the understanding that talent is widely distributed but opportunity is not, and that we all have a role to play in redistributing opportunity – a belief that has served as the foundation to Rachael’s work throughout her career.

Rachael has been interviewed and published in Real Clear Policy, The Hill, The Federal News Network, Information Security Media Group, RouteFifty, WorkforceRx, and Working Nation, and her research has been featured in publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes, Philanthropy Daily, and Inside Higher Ed. Outside of work, Rachael serves as chair of StreetWise Partners’ Washington, D.C. Leadership Board, leading volunteer support of fundraising, partnership development, and program content development for the organization. She also has experience in state and national political campaigns and has been an active advocate for increasing women’s representation across all political parties and in all levels of elected office.

Rachael holds a master’s degree in public policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Bryn Mawr College, where she graduated magna cum laude as the sole recipient of the Jeanne Quistgaard Memorial Prize for Excellence in Economics.


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Jaime Fall @Jaimen8r
Director, UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute @upskillamerica

Jaime S. Fall is the director of UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute, an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and to help our economy and communities thrive by promoting training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs.

Jaime has worked in the field of workforce development for nearly 25 years. Previously, Jaime served as Vice President for Talent Sustainability for the HR Policy Association and its nonprofit foundation. Jaime’s government service includes serving as Deputy Secretary, Employment and Workforce Development, for the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. As a Senate-confirmed leader in the Schwarzenegger Administration, Jaime provided policy and guidance to California’s $11 billion workforce system and the nearly 9,000 employees that made up the entities within the agency. Previously, Jaime spent more than a decade in Washington, DC, working at the US Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration; the National Association of State Workforce Agencies; Fall Communications, a workforce development-focused marketing and website development company founded by him and his wife; and on Capitol Hill.

Jaime was born and raised in tiny rural towns in North Central Kansas. He now resides in Sacramento, California. He has been married to his high school sweetheart for over 30 years and is the thankful father of two awesome daughters. He worked his way through college as a broadcaster before earning his degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.

Opportunity in America

The Economic Opportunities Program’s Opportunity in America discussion series has moved to an all-virtual format as we all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the conversations about the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country remain vitally important. We hope you will participate as we bring our discussions to you in virtual formats, and we look forward to your feedback.

We are grateful to Prudential Financial,, the Surdna Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth for their support of this series.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

Event information
Wed Sep 22, 2021
2:00pm - 3:30pm EDT