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National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers

Phase 2 Working Group: The Future of Work – Developing, Supporting and Expanding the Modern Innovation Workforce

Working Group Assets

Working Group Objective

Talent is the engine of the U.S. innovation economy. A diverse, skilled, equipped, and empowered workforce is the critical ingredient to maintaining the United States’ pole position in the global race to innovate and compete. World-class talent in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, finance, management, and a wide range of other fields are necessary to consistently bring innovative products, services, and businesses to fruition.

U.S. workers are caught up in a turbulent economy being reshaped by globalization, shifts in economic drivers, hyper global competition to perform the world’s work, and rapid technological change. The economy is now driven by ideas, information, and the constant application of new technology, raising the demand for workers with higher knowledge and skills. New technologies make entirely new forms of work possible—work without humans, work in which humans and technologies form teams, work performed in remote locations and, potentially, entirely novel forms of work organization. The United States must bring our workers along through this period of intense restructuring of how we work to lead the industries of the future. 

In developing the 2020 report, Competing in the Next Economy, the Commission identified key recommendations to address these issues, including increasing funding for federal workforce development programs, embedding innovation-based curriculum into K-12 education, and broadening the “innovator mindset” beyond technical careers to all fields and industries.

Key Issues + Discussion Questions

In Phase 2 of the National Commission, the working group focused on the Future of Work: Developing, Supporting, and Expanding the Modern Innovation Workforce in an Era of Creative Destruction is striving to answer questions like:

  • How can the United States revitalize education and training systems to foster a high-skilled future workforce?
  • How can the United States leverage telework capabilities, digitalization, and emerging technologies to augment conventional work?
  • How can the United States navigate workforce challenges and opportunities created by increased automation?
  • How can the United States adapt to rapid labor force shifts and new models of work organization?
  • How can the United States expand efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the innovation workforce?

Working Group Members

Ifeoma Ajunwa
Emory University

Jana Beyerlin
Idaho National Laboratory

Emily Bianchi
Emory University

Carol Burns
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Dedric Carter

Washington University in St. Louis

Lee Cheatham
[Retired] Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Natalie Cotton-Nessler
Western New England University

Ernest Dianastasis
The Precisionists, Inc.

Karl Engelbach

UC Davis

Steve Farkas
University of Wyoming

Chris Folk
The MITRE Corporation

Lisa Foss

AGB council on Higher Education as a Strategic Asset

Lisa Giacumo
Boise State University

Jerry Haar
Florida International University

Tammy Kenber

University of California, Davis

Jonathan King
Southern Company Gas

Adriana Kuiper
Arizona State University

Sing-Min Lu

Boise State

JoAnn S. Lighty

Boise State University

Elizabeth Loboa

Southern Methodist University
Roy Mathew
Deloitte US

Willie May
Morgan State University

Hope Morrow
Idaho National Laboratory

Alex Najera
University of California, Riverside

Kent Neupert
Boise State University

Nicole Overly
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Patty Perillo
University of Maryland

Todd Pray
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Pete Risse
Boise State University

Amy Schmidt
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Sudeep Sharma
University of Illinois, Springfield

Sabrina Steele
The Aerospace Corporation

Amanda Stegen
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Jeannette Tamayo
University of Illinois System

Neil Thompson
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Van Ton-Quinlivan
Futuro Health

Jorge Villegas
University of Illinois, Springfield

Gerald Wilson
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Sunne Wright
McPeak California Emerging Technology Fund

To learn more about the National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers, please contact Council on Competitiveness Executive Vice President Chad Evans at [email protected].

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