“Work is evolving and it’s always been evolving,” said Congressman Bryan Steil, a Republican who represents Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District.
Steil and Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, a Democrat who represents Delaware, last week launched the Congressional Future of Work Caucus.
“How do we make sure that individuals in our communities are prepared for the jobs of the future?” Steil said that question what led them to create a caucus.
According to Steil, they decided to come together in a nonpartisan way, determine best practices, then share policy ideas that can be implemented to help workers and grow the economy.
Before he ran for Congress, Steil worked at Charter NEX in Milton, which he said is higher skilled manufacturing.
“We want to make sure that people are prepared for those types of jobs,” he said.
Steil, who also served on the UW System Board of Regents, said it’s important that the educational system is tied with workforce needs.
Often the Department of Education puts up roadblocks, he said.
“I think there’s some real opportunities that we can make reforms of the Department of Education to make it easier for high schools to bring in technical college training,” he continued.
He asked rhetorically why not have some of the core technical college classes available in high school.
“We’re beginning to do that in this region,” he added.
Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville (www.blackhawk.edu/Programs-Classes/Start-College-in-High-School) and Gateway Technical College in Kenosha (www.gtc.edu/admissions/audience/high-school-students/earn-college-credit-high-school) offer transcripted credit and advanced standing agreements, Start College now and youth apprenticeships.
“Technology, manufacturing and jobs are changing,” said a statement by the caucus co-chairs in a Jan. 15 news release. “We must be proactive and take advantage of the opportunities ahead of us. Among other issues, we’ll examine how to create effective skills programs, promote growth within emerging industries, and help workers access good paying jobs.”
Prior to being elected to Congress, Blunt Rochester served as Delaware’s Secretary of Labor, among other roles in state government.
According to the news release, the Congressional Future of Work Caucus, which has 19 members was created to educate members of Congress and their staff, stakeholders, and the public about the challenges and opportunities that come with changes in the workplace.
The caucus plans to discuss a number of topics, including:
- the growing effects of automation on the workforce,
- the emerging impact of artificial intelligence on society,
- how technological innovation might reshape the labor market.