2023 Gary Officer

‘It is incumbent on the workforce community to ensure that our nation’s most vulnerable – and older job seekers – are in the front line of this transformation’

Reflections on The Future of Work 2023 from WorkingNation Advisory Board member Gary Officer

We asked our WorkingNation Advisory Board to share their thoughts on the most important issues and challenges facing the workforce and the labor market in the coming year.

Gary A. Officer is a seasoned social entrepreneur and founder of CWI Labs, a nonprofit that champions innovative, inclusive workforce development programs.

He recently wrote about the challenges ahead for the American worker– particularly the older worker – for CWI Labs. Here is an excerpt for our The Future of Work 2023 series.

“The tight labor market and the corresponding shift to a increasingly hybrid workforce has created a unique window of opportunity for older workers. A recent Forbes magazine article by Luciana Paulise noted that ‘[a] Gallup survey in June of 2022 found that 8 in 10 people are working hybrid or remote, while only 2 in 10 are entirely on-site. And an AT&T study found the hybrid work model is expected to grow from 42% in 2021 to 81% in 2024.’

The inevitability of the gathering momentum towards a total transformation in our relationship to our jobs – and how and where we perform our tasks – will require a new set of technological and digital skills for employees to be successful. For low-income and older workers, this will require a renewed investment in workforce training.

One example of a unique approach being undertaken is the Center for Workforce Inclusion’s Digital Certification Program (DCP). This program is targeted to low-income job seekers aged 55-and-over who have made the decision to return to work, but who lack the digital skills for today’s job market.

The DCP is designed to meet the job seeker at their current skill level, to provide digital and technological training and, once completed, to assist the individual in securing a job. Job seekers who finish the DCP training will have the skills and tools to compete for employment opportunities that afford the opportunity to work from home.

In 2023 the U.S workforce development community must provide our nation’s job seekers with the tools to compete and succeed within our fast-evolving workforce. The timing for such development efforts could not be any better.

The movement towards certifications and industry recognized credentials as evidence of skills preparedness – in conjunction with the deemphasizing of college degrees as the gold standard for job readiness – is gradually transforming our nation’s hiring practices.

It is therefore incumbent on the workforce community to ensure that our nation’s most vulnerable – and older job seekers – are in the front line of this transformation. There are millions of American job seekers who are relying on us to get this right.”

You can read the full article here at CWILabs.org.

You can read all The Future of Work 2023 articles from our WorkingNation Advisory Board here.