Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute Releases Report on the American Workforce Transformation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 26, 2023) – Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute® (WPI®), the government relations and public policy arm of Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, has released a new report: The American Workforce Transformation – Challenges and Opportunities.

The report analyzes the key factors contributing to ongoing labor shortages, including the growing “skills gap,” and the industry sectors that have been most impacted. It also examines the benefits and disruptions that artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies are bringing to the workplace and provides insights on what can be done to meet the challenges.

“The future of work will depend on the policies we implement today,” said Michael Lotito, co-chair of WPI and one of the report’s authors. “Our report shows that with labor force participation still behind pre-pandemic levels and employers still struggling to fill open jobs, significant changes are needed to transform the American workforce. We have a challenging task ahead, but if we take the right steps now, the payoff will be felt for years to come.”

The report provides several recommended policy proposals to address the skills gap and facilitate future job growth, including:

  • Modernizing federal labor market reporting data: A critical first step in leveraging AI and advanced technologies to support a skills-based approach to employment is providing accurate and accessible data in real-time to job seekers and employers.
  • Reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Given that WIOA is the nation’s primary workforce development law and its reauthorization ended in 2020, it is imperative that the law be reauthorized and reformed to reflect technological advances in the workplace and other changes.
  • Diversifying and Expanding the National Apprenticeship System: Registered Apprenticeship Programs administered by the U.S. Department of Labor have a long and successful history in the skilled trades. To expand beyond these traditional fields, the Department can partner with other key industries and sectors of the economy to meet employer demand.
  • Considering short-term federal Pell grants for job-training programs: Expanding Pell grants to include short-term job training and workforce programs would greatly enhance the nation’s ability to provide career pathways to workers and allow employers to recruit qualified talent.

“As the American workforce changes, we need legislation at the federal level – starting with modernizing federal labor market reporting data – to meet the current and future demands of the market,” said Shannon Meade, executive director of WPI and one of the report’s authors. “Employers, lawmakers and educators depend on accurate data to identify economy-wide trends in emerging roles and industries, along with the skills needed for in-demand jobs, and to best allocate resources for future employment needs.”

This latest report builds on “Workforce: A Throttle on American Growth,” a 2022 report developed by WPI and the National Association of State Chambers, a national organization for executive leadership of state chambers. The report provided a comprehensive analysis of how employers, state and local governments, chambers of commerce and other stakeholders across the country are working together to address skill mismatches and meet the demands of the labor market.

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About Littler WPI

WPI advocates for employers on a global scale. Working closely with businesses and trade associations, WPI serves as a strong voice for employers and their workplaces to navigate real-time changes in employment and labor law, while influencing the legislation of tomorrow. By harnessing Littler’s global depth of knowledge and expansive resources for tracking emerging issues that affect the workplace, WPI brings employers’ interests to the forefront of today’s rapidly evolving regulatory landscape.