For Immediate Release:
March 14, 2018
Contact: Jonathon Dworkin (NewDEAL), 202-660-1340 x5, firstname.lastname@example.org
NewDEAL Forum Launches Future of Work Tour in Boston
Features Sen. Lesser’s Education & Training Proposals
National series of events focuses on higher education’s role in preparing workers
Washington, DC – The NewDEAL Forum launched a national tour at the University of Massachusetts-Boston today, bringing together public officials, thought leaders, university representatives, and entrepreneurs for a discussion about the importance of adapting our society to meet the challenges of the changing nature of work. The kick-off event addressed opportunities for higher education institutions to better prepare students and provide retraining for current workers in ways that align with the changing economy.
The tour, which will also include stops in Delaware, Houston, Denver, and San Francisco, will build momentum behind the release of extensive public policy recommendations by the Forum’s Future of Work Policy Group, which was chaired by Massachusetts Senator Eric Lesser and Houston City Councilmember Amanda Edwards. The Group’s efforts involved input from more than a dozen elected officials, as well as partner organizations, about practical solutions for state and local officials to: improve training, modernize the social safety net, and support entrepreneurs.
Lesser and Edwards led the roundtable discussion at UMass-Boston’s Venture Development Center, where they addressed how students and workers are trying to pursue economic opportunity and security amidst trends of globalization and technological innovation that are exacerbating economic inequality. Topics included mentorship and internship opportunities, as well as other ways to adapt curricula to align with the world of work.
“At a time when a 20-year-old can become a billionaire overnight by inventing a new iPhone app, it’s clear that we need to adapt our thinking to a changing economy, and ensure everyone has the opportunities and the skills to compete for good-paying jobs,” said Sen. Lesser.
In leading this effort in Massachusetts, Lesser has introduced legislation to create an “entrepreneur learners permit” that would reimburse state permitting and licensing fees for first-time business owners, a portable benefits fund to help independent workers such as freelancers save for retirement, and a commission to study the effects of future-of-work trends on our state’s workforce and economy. He is also pursuing legislation, based on the Policy Group’s report, to make available lifelong learning accounts that help workers pay for short-term training, and to address student debt.
“Amidst the massive changes caused by technology and automation, policymakers must take bold steps to ensure all Americans have the opportunity to thrive in the new economy,” said Jonathan Dworkin, Director of Policy and Communications at the NewDEAL Forum. “We were excited to launch this tour in Boston to see how state and local leaders across the country can learn from Senator Lesser’s efforts as well as from the innovative programs at UMass-Boston that are preparing students for the future of work.”
The NewDEAL Forum’s Future of Work report draws from the work of innovative policymakers as well as input from leading think tanks and members of the private sector. Proposals are accompanied by an appendix of more than 20 specific programs, laws, and pieces of proposed legislation from policy experts and elected officials across the country. It lays out stark statistics, and notes that inequalities and societal divisions are exacerbated by our economic transformation, to underscore the urgency with which leaders must act.
“In a nation of diverse communities, solving these challenges requires state and local leadership,” write U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell in an introduction to the recommendations from the Honorary Co-chairs of the Forum’s sister organization, NewDEAL Leaders. “But it is hard, if not impossible, for individual policymakers to research and create comprehensive policy agendas. They need workable ideas for what to do, tailored to their levels of government and areas of oversight. And that is exactly what this report by the NewDEAL Forum is all about: providing state and local elected officials with a road map of practical steps they can take to help their constituents navigate the changing world of work.”
About the NewDEAL Forum
The NewDEAL Forum is a non-profit organization which identifies and promotes innovative, future-oriented state and local pro-growth progressive policies that can improve the lives of all Americans. By facilitating the identification and spread of policy ideas, the NewDEAL Forum seeks to foster economic growth, reduce barriers to opportunity and promote good government in communities, cities and states throughout the country. The Forum advances its mission by researching, identifying and sharing state and local pro-growth progressive policy ideas and bringing together public, private and non-profit sector policy experts to exchange ideas and discuss the country’s biggest challenges.