Employment and Jobs

The Lasting Impact of 2020: How 2020 Transformed Businesses, Skills, and Equity at Work

September 6, 2021  • UpSkill America

With the support of the Strada Education Network and Walmart.org, UpSkill America conducted a 12-month, three-phase study to speak directly with employers to learn how the pandemic and heightened attention to racial inequities have influenced company employment plans for the months and years ahead. On this page, we compile our research and public events on this work.


Events

Promotional image for the event “Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs," hosted by the Aspen Institute on September 22, 2021, at 2 pm EDT. The image includes the event info and a background photo of a woman working at a laptop with technology symbols floating around her.

Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs – September 2021

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. On September 22, we hosted a virtual event looking 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. Click here to watch.

Foreground: "Transformation in 2020: How 2020 Accelerated Digital Transformation at Companies and What That Means for Frontline Workers. March 24, 3:00 p.m. ET. #upskilling" Background: Photo of two warehouse workers wearing hard hats, reflector vests, and face masks. They are standing in front of a stack of cardboard boxes while looking at an electronic tablet. One is a Black man and the other is an Asian woman.

How 2020 Accelerated Digital Transformation at Companies and What That Means for Frontline Workers – March 2021

This event shares results of our survey of over 340 business leaders on how businesses have adopted new technologies to respond to workers’ and customers’ needs. For many companies, digital transformation has led to changes in how they think about the skills frontline workers need to be successful in their jobs and the investments in education and training programs needed to support workers’ development. During this public discussion, we hear directly from leading employers in food service, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail. Panelists share how their businesses have responded to events in 2020, including ways they have responded to technological change and racial inequities in employment. Watch now.


Publications

Cover for the publication, "Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs"

Insights from Businesses: How Digital Transformation Is Impacting Work and Skill Needs – September 2021

Over the past year, UpSkill America conducted a three-phase study to learn how the pandemic and heightened attention on racial inequities have influenced companies’ employment plans for the months and years ahead. We were especially interested in the impact these changes were having on frontline and entry-level employees and employers’ education and training programs. In this third phase of the research, we spoke directly with employers and asked: In what ways are businesses adopting technology in the workplace, and has COVID-19 accelerated these efforts? How is digital transformation impacting skill needs for frontline workers? What approaches are businesses taking to support development of digital skills for frontline workers? See what we learned through our most recent conversations. Read more.

How Companies Transformed During 2020 and the Impact on Frontline Workers – March 2021

Upskill America spent six months interviewing and surveying employers about how events in 2020 — the pandemic and heightened attention on systemic racism — are influencing the types of new skills needed by frontline workers, employer-funded education and training programs and other workplace supports for frontline and entry-level workers, and strategies to enhance racial equity and inclusion in the workplace. This presentation summarizes the findings from our interviews and a January 2021 survey. Read more.

Impact of COVID-19 Study – January 2021

This presentation captures our key takeaways from an initial round of employer interviews, including employers’ experiences as they adapted and survived during the upheaval of 2020. Additionally, employers shared perspectives about skill needs and workforce practice changes that are likely to be with us into the foreseeable future. Read more.


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UpSkill America is an employer-led movement that promotes training and advancement practices to help workers progress in their careers and move into better-paying jobs. UpSkill America is an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program.

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