HOW CAN GOVERNMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORT WORKERS IN TRANSITIONING TO NEW ROLES AS A RESULT OF TECHNOLOGICAL DISRUPTION

Technological disruption through automation and artificial intelligence is likely to significantly impact many jobs and industries in the coming years. While this disruption may increase productivity and economic growth, it also risks displacing many workers who need to transition to new roles. Both governments and organizations have an important role to play in supporting workers through this transition.

To help workers transition effectively, governments should significantly increase funding for retraining and skills development programs. Workers needing to transition out of declining industries will require support to learn new skills and qualify for in-demand jobs of the future. By making community college free or low-cost, and offering grants/loans for vocational training programs, more workers can access education and retool their careers. Retraining programs should be designed based on detailed forecasts of which jobs are most likely to be impacted and which emerging jobs will need to be filled. This ensures retraining funds are targeted to support transitions into stable, growing career paths.

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Governments can also establish online reemployment centers to help workers explore career options. Through skills assessments and job matching tools, these centers can guide workers towards suitable training programs based on their existing experience and skills. Centers could also offer remote digital skills courses to help workers gain qualifications for more technology-focused jobs even if they are unable to physically attend classes. Case managers at the centers can provide ongoing career coaching and help with job applications.

Meanwhile, direct financial assistance for displaced workers during their retraining period is also important. Extended unemployment benefits that last beyond traditional periods can help cover living expenses while workers upgrade their skills through longer term training programs. Targeted wage subsidies for employers who hire retrained workers getting a foothold in a new industry can further boost transitions.

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Organizations undergoing technological changes also have a role to play in reskilling incumbent employees. They should provide transparency around how roles may evolve or become redundant over time so workers are aware of coming changes. Internal retraining programs focused on in-demand digital skills can help existing employees transition into newly created roles driven by technology adoption, keeping valuable institutional knowledge within the organization. Where full internal transitions are not possible, organizations should offer generous severance packages and outplacement services connecting departing employees to available training opportunities and jobs.

Governments could incentivize such organizational support through tax credits for businesses that engage in on-the-job training or fund external courses for a significant percentage of their workforce annually. Collaboration with community colleges on curriculum development ensures training aligns with emerging industry needs. This type of public-private partnership optimizes resources to support widespread, effective upskilling of displaced workers.

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As automation continues, lifelong learning will become increasingly important for workers to stay employable. Governments and organizations must work together to establish an adaptive, supportive environment where workers feel empowered and equipped to continually upgrade their skills throughout their careers in response to changing job requirements. With coordinated, collaborative efforts focused on robust retraining options and financial assistance, societies can help workers successfully navigate technological disruption and transition to new opportunities.

By significantly increasing funding for well-designed retraining programs, establishing online career centers, offering direct financial assistance to displaced workers and incentivizing organizations to support upskilling, governments and organizations can play a key role in easing the disruption of technological change on workers and smoothing their transitions to emerging jobs and industries. A dedication to reskilling and lifelong learning will be vital to ensuring workers are empowered participants in our increasingly technology-driven economies.

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