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The Future of Work - Vision Statement

The Future of Work

Demographic and economic shifts are giving rise to new forms of business development and new types of working relationships between owners, employees, contractors, and other businesses.  As a national leader in innovation, including high tech businesses and social enterprises, California has a natural advantage in finding a successful path forward.  These changes require a reassessment of what it means to prepare a workforce. 

In 2014, Millennials became the largest cohort within the U.S. workforce.  Among other distinctive qualities, 44% of Millennials are of a race or ethnic group other than non-Hispanic whites and 20% of Millennials have at least one immigrant parent.  Millennials, as a group, also tend to be entrepreneurial and comfortable with utilizing technology as a means of commerce and social interaction.  One study by the Pew Research Center found that 54% of the Millennials planned to start their own business and 23% said that the idea of starting your own business came as a result of their employment experience. 

These trends are important because Millennials are coming of age within an economy that increasingly relies on independent contractors and freelancers instead of full-time employees.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the gig economy is affecting a range of industry sectors, including among others: arts and design (graphic designers); computer and information technology (web and software designers); construction and extraction (carpenters); media and communications (technical writers and interpreters); and transportation and material moving (truckers).

As Millennials and others in the workforce seek employment, they are increasingly interested in business forms that blend community values with revenue generation, including public benefit corporations, social enterprises, and workers cooperative.  In one Pew survey, over 90% of Millennials said they are interested in putting their skills to work to benefit a cause.  California is adapting to these changes and is joining with other states and regions in utilizing these elements within core economic development strategies.   While the U.S. is lagging in tracking these trends, other countries are finding these new forms of business play a key role within their economy.  A recent study by Social Ventures in Australia, found that social enterprises have demonstrated that they can create jobs for people excluded from the mainstream workforce, particularly the long-term unemployed.  The European Union regularly measures the economic impact of this evolving area of businesses development and reports that the "social economy" employs over 11 million people in the EU, accounting for 6% of total employment.

Current California law already requires local workforce development boards to lead efforts to identify and promote proven and promising strategies for meeting the needs of employers, and workers and jobseekers.  The Legislature calls on local workforce development boards to engage within their regions on the evolving nature of work and to identify how these changes impact training models and skills attainment.    

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