The Future of Work is Change

Since January of this year, the National League of Cities (NLC) has been focused in a significant way on the #FutureofWork in cities. We’ve been conducting and publishing new research, highlighting promising practices, holding convenings, developing new educational opportunities and programming, and engaging new partners.

We’ve been working hard to stay on top of this issue, continually releasing resources and developing programming, all throughout the year. In April, we shared a brief that explores the key areas that should be considered when preparing for the future of work — supporting and scaling pathways to employment, equity and access, and the impact of emerging technologies. We’ve published three additional briefs on afterschool and summer learning focused on college and career readinesspublic safety and workforce development. These briefs can help city leaders consider ways to engage their youngest residents and take advantage of all the places where learning can occur.

In June, we released a report that analyzes the jobs and skills that are most and least vulnerable to automation as well as recommendations for how cities can prepare for changes to come. In May, NLC hosted the National Briefing on Mayoral Leadership for Building Equitable Pathways to Postsecondary and Workforce Success with Dr. Jill Biden and city leaders from across the country.

And finally, to ensure an open line of communication with the private sector on these issues, we established the Future of Work Corporate Advisory Group, which includes representatives from a number of our corporate and philanthropic partners.

We’ve also hosted a multi-month blog series on CitiesSpeak with new pieces appearing bi-weekly in the lead up to our November meeting. These blogs examined and explored the trends, ideas and institutions that intersect with the #FutureofWork, and featured a variety of voices and perspectives. As City Summit begins next week, this blog marks the final one in the series. But the good news is that NLC’s not done addressing the #FutureofWork and how city leaders can prepare their residents for it.

To conclude this year-long dedication to the topic, we have made this #FutureofWork central to our programming at our upcoming City Summit in Los Angeles, November 7-10. We’ve got a special conference track that will explore issues ranging from the gig economy to ensuring equity in workforce development programs. We will have a combination of workshops, solutions sessions sponsored by our corporate partners, TED style talks in the City Spotlight Theater, and films that touch on these important issues. Here’s an overview of what’s to come:

Thursday, November 8

  • Solutions Session: How to Attract and Retain a Talented Workforce

9:00 am – 9:45 am

  • NLC Spotlight Theater: Stabilizing the Gig Economy(Spotlight Theater)

10:00 am – 10:25 am

  • NLC Spotlight Theater: Cities Supporting Strong Early Childhood Development

10:30 am – 10:55 am

  • NLC Spotlight Theater: Productive Partnerships: A Lifecycle Approach from a University Community

11:30 am – 11:55 am

  • NLC Spotlight Theater: Destroying Silos to Build a Strong Start for Our Kids

3:00 pm – 4:25 pm

  • Conference Workshop: How the Gig Economy Can Help Cities Thrive

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm

Friday, November 9, 2018

  • Conference Workshop: Building Foundations: Investing in Youth to Support Workforce Success

10:30 am – 11:45 am

  • NLC Spotlight Theater: A Community Promise for Students to Go Further

10:30 am – 10:55 am

  • Conference Workshop: The Future is Automated: How City Leaders Can Prepare for a New Economic Landscape

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm

  • Film and Discussion: No Small Matter

3:30 pm – 4:45 pm

Saturday, November 10, 2018

  • Conference Workshop: Ensuring Equity in Workforce Development Programming for Special Populations

While our yearlong dedication to studying and preparing for the #FutureofWork has officially come to a close, one of the biggest and most important takeaways we’ve gleaned from digging deep on this issue is that this issue is very complex, and our work is far from over. We better understand now, from the engagement of multiple perspectives and approaches to this, that the #FutureofWork isn’t just one thing – it’s many things.

It’s a conversation about skills, pathways, educational attainment, equity, employment, security, skills-gaps, technological changes, social safety nets, private sector partnerships and so much more. More generally, it’s a conversation about change. NLC’s role is to bring city leaders together to share best practices, and help them adapt to and maybe even embrace change.

We hope you can join us in LA to engage in this conversation, and carry this important work forward in your day-to-day lives as local leaders.

Thank you for your continued interest and support on this issue.

Mark_Stodola_200x250 About the Author: Mark Stodola is the mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas, and president of the National League of Cities (NLC).