The African American Mayors Association (AAMA) just released a new report entitled, “The Future of Work: The Effect of Job Automation on African-American and Latino Workers in Three Cities.” This is the first in-depth study on automation that pairs economic analysis with educational analysis to offer localized solutions to anticipated job loss due to automation. The report examined three local economies: Gary, Indiana, Long Beach, California and Columbia, South Carolina. The study found that while jobs lost to automation may range anywhere from 9 percent to upwards of 50 percent for black and Latino workers in the cities studied, localities already have many often underutilized tools to mitigate such losses such as online training programs and apprenticeships.
Mayors have a close-up view of the needs and experiences of residents and local industries. They also have close connections to school boards and county and state government officials. Thus, local leaders are in strategic positions to marshal and coordinate resources and disseminate information about education and workforce training programs. In addition, local leaders can lobby state and federal governments to support high-quality, evidence-based programs and develop comprehensive systems of workforce development. With information about the needs and resources within their communities, local leaders can be at the forefront of efforts to prepare their workforce for the future.
“I am excited that the African American Mayors Association is leading on the important issue of preparing black and brown workers for the future economy,” said AAMA President, Hardie Davis, Mayor of Augusta, GA. “Mayors serve an important role in not only understanding the future of work, but also in developing strategies to prepare young adults for employment, and in retraining the existing workforce to be active, productive participants in the changing labor market.”
“What we have discovered through this is that research has the power to transform the American economy and, in particular, to revitalize black and brown communities and prepare an entire generation for the work of the future,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin of Columbia, SC. “There is still time to ensure our cities are ready to take on the demands of an increasingly global economy. We don’t have to get left behind–we can be essential to transforming the role the United States plays on the international stage.”
“I am grateful to the researchers, collaborators and contributors who worked with us to bring this report to fruition,” said Stephanie Mash Sykes, Executive Director and General Counsel of AAMA. “Cities all across the country are grappling with similar challenges in regard to educating and retraining their workforce for the next phase of job automation. It is important that AAMA is a leader in developing solutions to the challenges that have a disproportionate impact on black and Latino workers. While there are still many unknowns in regard to the magnitude of job losses, what is known is that now is the time for elected officials to work closely with educators and industry leaders to ensure workers have the needed skills for the future economy. AAMA looks forward to working closely with cities on next steps.”