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I spend a lot of time thinking about how we can build a future of work that works for everyone. As automation and digitalization increase, how can we invest in our workforce and ensure that all Americans find opportunity in this economy? It’s a mission that I was committed to before COVID, and one that’s only increased in urgency as millions of Americans now find themselves without work. The rising unemployment rate for Black workers is at its highest in more than a decade, even as rates for white workers begin to fall.

Many corporations, policymakers and organizations have for years been focused on how we can prepare American workers for the future. But so far we’ve fallen short, particularly when it comes to workers who are experiencing low wages, many of whom are people of color. Recent reports estimate that as much as one-third of the United States workforce could be out of a job by 2030 thanks to automation — and that was pre-COVID.

The pandemic has elevated the stakes, and in a sense it presents an opportunity for those of us focused on workforce development to look inward and think about how we can do better for all American workers, today and in the future. Why have we struggled to reskill American workers and place them into meaningful work? What do we need to change to better support workers? And more specifically, what are some different decisions we could make to ensure that Black people have shared prosperity in the future of work?