Digital Skills Discussion Guide: A Tool for Workforce Professionals

The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program developed the Digital Skills Discussion Guide to help workforce professionals learn how employer partners are integrating technology and upskilling workers. By beginning this learning process, the Guide can facilitate supporting workers adapting to new ways of interacting with their work environments during this digital transformation. For example, conversations with employers about digital skills can help workforce professionals:

  • Learn about how the daily work of frontline occupations may be changing as industries apply new technologies;
  • Learn about how the frontline workforce is adapting and learning in response to changes, and what supports can enable digital skill development that is widely accessible and equitable;
  • Learn about promising approaches to digital skills training within and outside the workplace that lead to career advancement and wage increases;
  • Learn the ways in which digital skills training investments can be paired with job quality supports to enable career advancement and wage increase opportunities for frontline workers;
  • Learn about any challenges finding, recruiting, and/or retaining workers with the skills needed for an occupation; and
  • Learn about and find opportunities to support efforts to build greater diversity in the digital workforce.

The Guide is based on a series of conversations held with business representatives from a range of industry sectors during 2020 and 2021. Aspen explored how businesses are adopting technology in the workplace, how COVID-19 accelerated these efforts, how digital transformation is impacting skill expectations for frontline workers, and what approaches businesses are taking to support development of digital skills for frontline workers.

Workforce development professionals can use these resources together to guide conversations with employers looking to invest in digital skills training for their frontline workers. These guided conversations can strengthen workforce services, deepen business relationships, and explore new ways to partner to achieve mutual benefit.