As part of the Investing in America's Workforce initiative, the Philadelphia Fed's Ashley Putnam and Alvaro Sanchez recently wrote Digital Skills for the 21st-Century Workforce. The report explores the challenges and innovative strategies that have been used to prepare workers to acquire digital skills as innovation and automation change the nature of work.

By its very nature the pace of technological change makes it challenging for employers and workers to keep up with all the changes taking place. This upskilling requires more investment in workforce development; however, access to funding those improvements within the current environment can be burdensome and challenging to access.

Despite the challenges, several opportunities for digital skills investment are identified and explored in the brief:

  • • Apprenticeship and other work/learn/earn programs
  • • Credentials and skills-based hiring
  • • Upskilling and reskilling for incumbent workers
  • • New funding models to pilot and scale programs
  • • Tech training partnerships.

In addition to this report, chapters in the book Investing in America's Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers examine barriers to career advancement as well as strategies to invest in workers. Some of these chapters include:

By Whitney Strifler, economic policy analysis specialist in the Atlanta Fed’s research department