Employment and Jobs

Transformation in 2020: How 2020 Accelerated Digital Transformation at Companies and What That Means for Frontline Workers

March 24, 2021  • Economic Opportunities Program

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Event Description

The events of the past year have led to unprecedented changes in how businesses operate and the way people live and work. These changes have included the acceleration and adoption of digital technology in the workplace. UpSkill America, with the support of Strada Education Network and Walmart.org, spent six months conducting interviews and surveys with employers about how the events of 2020 have affected their businesses. In the process, we learned about 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.

Learn about results of our survey of over 340 business leaders and 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.



“March 24: How 2020 Accelerated Digital Transformation at Companies and What That Means for Frontline Workers.” Feat Electrolux, @stradaeducation, @EatnPark, @OchsnerHealth, @TrainingIndustr, and @WalmartOrg. Follow @upskillamerica and tweet #upskilling.

The events of 2020 led to unprecedented changes in how businesses operate and the way people live and work. Join @upskillamerica March 24 to hear insights from leading employers in food service, healthcare, manufacturing, and retail.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technology in the workplace, leading businesses to rethink skill needs and the education/training programs needed to support workers’ development. Learn more from @upskillamerica and guests.

.@upskillamerica surveyed employers to learn how 2020 affected their businesses. Join them March 24 to hear the results of this survey and learn how 300+ companies have adopted new technologies to respond to workers’ and customers’ needs.



Patti Constantakis

Patti Constantakis @patticonstan
Director, Corporate Philanthropy, Walmart.org @WalmartOrg

Patti Constantakis, PhD, is a director on the Economic Opportunity team for Walmart.org. 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 GreatSchools.org 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.


Maureen Conway

Maureen Conway @conway_maureen
Vice President, The Aspen Institute; Executive Director, The Aspen Institute 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. Maureen founded EOP’s Workforce Strategies Initiative and has headed up workforce research at the Aspen Institute since 1999. Maureen also curates a public discussion series at the Aspen Institute, Opportunity in America, which brings together voices from business, labor, policy, human services, media, academia, and others to discuss the challenges experienced by many in today’s economy and new ideas for addressing these challenges. In addition, Maureen oversees EOP’s leadership development programs, which connect innovators, both within communities and from across the country, to peers working to help low- and moderate-income Americans access opportunity.


Hao Dinh

Hao Dinh @HDXperiment
Director, Global Digital Industrial Operations, Electrolux

For the past two decades, Hao Dinh has led digital transformation initiatives for GE, IBM, Electrolux, Ford, and GM, and collaborated with IDEO and the Aspen Institute to drive social innovations. Additionally, he’s successfully started two nonprofits that partner with the education systems in the United States and China to nurture the next generation of innovators. Lastly, he’s completing US Navy Seals training to strengthen his physical, mental, and spiritual self.


Jaime Fall

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.


Daryl Graham

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, Del., 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.


Ranita Jain

Ranita Jain @RanitaJain1
Senior Evaluation Manager, The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program @AspenWorkforce

Ms. Jain joined the Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative — an initiative of the Economic Opportunities Program — in March 2014. Ranita currently assists with the planning, management, and implementation of a variety of WSI evaluation projects and has expertise in developing and implementing study designs and protocols, developing logic models, conducting data collection and analyses, and producing written reports and presentations. Over her career, Ranita has worked in the private, public and nonprofit sectors and has extensive experience working with agencies and programs providing benefits and services to low-income populations. From 2010 to 2014, Ranita was a Senior Study Director at Westat, where she managed multi-site, multi-year evaluation projects focused on assessing the impact of programs serving vulnerable populations. Prior to Westat, Ranita worked at Building Changes, an intermediary organization in Washington State that supports the delivery of social and economic opportunity services for homeless families. Ranita served as a researcher for New York City’s Human Resources Administration/Department of Social Services where she assessed the impact of agency programs in providing services to TANF, food stamp, and Medicaid recipients. Ranita also worked in the private sector with PriceWaterhouseCoopers as a Management Consultant. Ranita holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Public Policy degree from Johns Hopkins University.


Julius Ridgley

Julius Ridgley
Manager of Talent Development, Eat’n Park Hospitality Group @EatnPark

Julius is celebrating his 19th year with the Eat’n Park Hospitality Group and has worked his way up from hourly team member to assistant manager, manager, general manager, training general manager, and manager of team member experience. In 2020, he was promoted to his current position, manager of talent development, where he oversees performance management, succession planning, workforce development, diversity and inclusion, and change management training for the entire organization. This position allows him to use over 15 years of leadership experience to help others uncover their passions and talents and find new solutions to old problems.


Missy Sparks

Missy Sparks
Vice President of Talent Management, Ochsner Health @OchsnerHealth

Missy Sparks, PhD, serves as vice president of talent management in human resources at Ochsner Health. Currently employing more than 32,000 staff across Louisiana and Mississippi, Ochsner is Louisiana’s largest not-for-profit employer, healthcare provider, and educator of healthcare professionals. She leads her team in developing a diverse talent pipeline to support top-quality patient care. She has established an effective workforce development platform to grow the pipeline of healthcare professionals through Ochsner-sponsored training programs for internal and external candidates, with a focus on opening career pathways for underserved communities. She brought up workforce programs such as the state’s first registered apprenticeship for medical assistants to licensed practical nurses, as well as MA NOW, which has successfully brought over 300 previously unemployed into healthcare careers. Additionally, she leads college and post-graduate internships and fellowships, the Ochsner Career Center, orientation and onboarding, performance management, and engagement.

She serves on the workforce development boards of Orleans and Jefferson Parishes, YouthForce NOLA, Morris Jeff Community School, and Gulf South Communities in Schools. Additionally, she volunteers regularly to feed the hungry and homeless through St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in the French Quarter.


Ken Taylor

Ken Taylor
President, Training Industry, Inc. @TrainingIndustr

Ken Taylor is president of Training Industry, Inc., and serves as editor-in-chief of Training Industry’s editorial content, including TrainingIndustry.com and Training Industry Magazine, all of which provide guidance for the learning and development leader. Ken’s passion for technology and its impact on organizational effectiveness drives his deep interest in learning technologies and the role of technology in employee development.

Ken’s career spans over 30 years in leadership and entrepreneurial roles in multiple industries and functions, including consulting, operations, technology, sales, and marketing. His experience in finance includes serving as CFO of several multibillion-dollar business units. His prior experience and current focus combine to give him a unique perspective on the training sector, understanding both the challenges of learning leaders and the perspectives of leadership teams tasked with driving performance and outcomes. His experience also enables him to bring together companies and individuals who operate as suppliers and buyers of learning services.

Ken is co-author of the book, What Makes a Great Training Organization, written with Training Industry, Inc. Founder Doug Harward.


Learn More

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.

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.