Chike Aguh on preparing for an inclusive workforce

Thought leaders share ideas with WorkingNation Overheard at JFF Horizons 2023

“[I’m] really looking to see how we create a future of work that includes all of us and make an economy that makes us prosperous and that also makes us proud – where no one is left behind and everyone is doing that part,” says Chike Aguh, former chief innovation officer, U.S. Department of Labor.

WorkingNation sat down with Aguh at JFF Horizons in New Orleans.

When asked about the progress being made to provide access to opportunity for workers, Aguh says, “I think we’re at halftime right now. Between the beginning of the pandemic and now, we’ve had some low points.”

“We’ve also had some high points. I think particularly with this administration in terms of –number one – making the investments in the industries of the future and also helping prepare people for them. And the question is, are we going to prepare all of our people for all of these jobs? The opportunity that we have is that we have so much work that needs to be done. We have to go to communities we’ve never really engaged before to make sure that there are people to do that work.”

Aguh says, “From my time in administration, I saw many, many employers say, ‘Hey, we need to hire for skills versus college degrees.’ And the other question was, ‘How?’ This is where tools like registered apprenticeship, tools like true skills assessments where employers actually know the skills that they want. We have to make sure that when employer puts a job posting up that all the people within the company actually agree on what should be in that posting. I think that’s how you get there.”

Learn more about the U.S. Department of Labor.

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