Senator Reverend Warnock, Colleagues Introduce Legislation to Invest in a Future-Forward Workforce

The legislation will support training programs to ensure workers are not left behind as automation accelerates 

According to a Georgia State University study, about 50 percent of the jobs in Georgia are at risk due to artificial intelligence and advanced computer technologies

Jobs requiring knowledge of digital technology have tripled in recent years—the software industry alone supports more than 14 million jobs

Senator Reverend Warnock: “This legislation marks a pivotal step towards ensuring our citizens are well-prepared to join the workforce of the future”

Washington, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) was joined by Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Representative Brad Schneider (D-IL-10) to introduce bicameral legislation designed to increase federal investments in workforce training and prepare workers for the jobs of the future. The Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would ensure that American workers have the skills needed to successfully navigate the transition into higher-skilled positions and in-demand industries. It has been estimated that nearly 50 percent of jobs in the United States could be at risk due to automation. The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated these trends, with one recent study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) indicating that roughly 40 percent of current workers will require reskilling as a result of future automation. 

“Nearly 50 percent of jobs in Georgia and across the country could be at risk for automation, and we know those most vulnerable are already living on the margins. This is an opportunity to invest in a future-forward workforce, equipping individuals with the tools, resources, and education needed to thrive in our ever-evolving economy,” said Senator Warnock. “This legislation marks a pivotal step towards ensuring our citizens are well-prepared to join the workforce of the future.”

Jobs most affected by automation are those held predominantly by groups that are already vulnerable, such as low-income earners and people of color.  An International Monetary Fund report found that previous pandemic events have accelerated automation, and that economies with higher robot density see a larger increase in inequality in the medium term. However, investments in the training needed to transition workers into these new opportunities are at historic lows. The United States spent just 0.1 percent of Global Domestic Product (GDP) on active labor market policies in 2015—significantly less than many European countries, and less than half of the level of workforce investments made in the United States 30 years ago.

Specifically, the Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act would: 

  • Invest in Workforce Training: The bill would create a grant program through the Department of Labor to support industry partnerships in developing and carrying out training programs for workers who are, or are likely to become, dislocated because of advances in technology, including automation.
  • Expand Current Programs: The bill would increase funding for National Dislocated Worker Grants and amend the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) to ensure workers who are dislocated by automation are included in WIOA programs. 

Along with Senators Reverend Warnock and Durbin, the legislation is also cosponsored by U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). The Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act is also supported by the National Skills Coalition.

A one-pager on the Investing in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act is available here.