Aspen Institute Report Highlights Implications of Digitization and Automation on the Latino Workforce

May 5, 2022

Latinos are most at risk of job losses but digital skills education and training strategies can ensure Latino workers and business owners succeed in the digital economy.

Contact: Jon Purves
Associate Director, Media Relations
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, May 5, 2022 – Today, UpSkill America and the Latinos and Society Program at the Aspen Institute released a report, “Pathways to Digital Skills Development for Latino Workers: What Employers Say About Their Skill Development Needs and What Workforce Organizations Are Doing To Help.” This research, administered during the pandemic with support from, examines the digital skills needs, challenges, and opportunities for the frontline Latino workforce and highlights promising business practices and ecosystem approaches to developing these skills.

Latino workers have been identified as the group most at risk of job displacement due to digitization and automation of economic activities in the US. The COVID-19 pandemic has both heightened the precarity of employment and accelerated digital transformations that necessitate increased digital skills for this group of workers. These include skills to operate digital devices, use office software and digital platforms, set up and use technology in the workplace, collect and interpret data, and prevent cybersecurity breaches, among others.

With the goal of learning about employer’s digital skills and resources needs, as well as investments in education and training to develop the digital skills of Latino workforces – especially non-native-English-speaking immigrant and first-generation workers – the Aspen Institute surveyed Latino-owned businesses, companies employing frontline Latino workers, and workforce organizations providing services to frontline Latino workers or companies that employ Latino workers. The research also focused on industries with a large share of Latino workers, including the retail, construction, hospitality, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.

Key findings include:

  • High demand for digital skills, with 80% of surveyed workforce organizations indicating the majority of businesses they work with are prioritizing technology adoption
  • Most surveyed workforce organizations offer digital skills training directly to job seekers rather than to businesses
  • Common workforce organization offerings include basic digital literacy training (81%) and occupation-specific digital skills training (70%)
  • Surveyed companies offer more in-house digital skills training than external options
  • Surveyed Latino-owned companies appear to provide more on-the-job, interpersonal digital skills training to frontline workers than do other companies

The report also includes profiles of training programs addressing the challenge of digital skills development, as well as actionable recommendations for forging partnerships and designing comprehensive education and training programs that are aligned with the needs of a diverse Latino frontline workforce. Read it here:


About the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program

The mission of the Aspen Latinos and Society Program (AILAS) is to empower and promote long-term economic growth and resilience in Latino communities throughout the US. Founded in 2015, AILAS leverages its deep networks of leaders from the public, private, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors in order to advance needed public and corporate policy that maximizes the economic potential of Latino communities. With a focus on equity and entrepreneurial ecosystem building, AILAS sources solutions that are data-driven, community-informed and culturally relevant.


About UpSkill America

UpSkill America is an employer-led movement to expand opportunity for America’s workers and allow our economy and communities to thrive. The movement promotes training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. Led by a leadership team of employer organizations, UpSkill America has the mission to recognize employers that invest in their frontline workers; promote the adoption of policies and practices used by employers to educate, train and develop frontline workers; and highlight effective local and regional workforce development partnerships and how they educate, train and develop individuals for success in the workplace. UpSkill America is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

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