Employment and Jobs

Digital Skills Discussion Guide: A Tool for Workforce Service Providers

December 29, 2021  • Amanda Fins

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There is much in the news about technological change, and our research team at the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program frequently hears workforce development professionals express concerns about the implications of technology change for job-seekers and workers. In response, we developed the Digital Skills Discussion Guide to help workforce providers learn how employers in your region are integrating technology and upskilling workers. By beginning this learning process, the Guide can facilitate supporting workers adapting to new ways of interacting with their work environments during this digital transformation. For example, conversations with employers about digital skills can help workforce professionals:

  • Learn about how the daily work of frontline occupations may be changing as industries apply new technologies;
  • Learn about and find opportunities to support efforts to build greater diversity in the digital workforce;
  • Learn about promising approaches to digital skills training within and outside the workplace that lead to career advancement and wage increases;
  • Learn about any challenges finding, recruiting, and/or retaining workers with the skills needed for an occupation; and
  • Learn about how the frontline workforce is adapting and learning in response to changes, and what supports can enable digital skill development that is widely accessible and equitable.

The Guide is based on a series of conversations that our research team held with large, national employers from a range of industry sectors during 2020 and 2021. We explored how businesses are adopting technology in the workplace, how COVID-19 accelerated these efforts, how digital transformation is influencing skill expectations for frontline workers, and how businesses are supporting the development of digital skills among their frontline workers.

A companion tool to our Question Bank for Workforce Providers, workforce development professionals can use these resources together to guide conversations with employers in your region looking to invest in digital skills training for their frontline workers. These guided conversations can inform the design of workforce services, deepen business relationships, and surface opportunities to improve job quality and business outcomes.


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Speaking with #wkdev providers about #digitalskills can help employers uncover opportunities to boost diversity in their workforce and confront challenges with recruiting and retention.


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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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