Last week, CareerSource North Central Florida attended the annual Winter U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council (WDC) in Washington, D.C.—a yearly three-day gathering of municipal leaders who share and discuss best practices with leading workforce boards across the country.
The annual Winter USCM meeting draws hundreds of mayors, government officials, and mayor-sponsored community leaders to the capitol. This year, Gainesville Mayor Lauren Poe sponsored CareerSource NCFL’s attendance. Our executive director, Frank Avery, was able to attend and participate in several sessions, including the USCM Workforce and Education Committee session.
The Workforce and Education session was well-attended. Led by Christopher L. Cabaldon from West Sacramento, CA, Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Jobs, Education, and the Workforce Committee, the session featured keynote speakers such as U.S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos; Google Vice President of Public Policy and Government Relations for the Americas, Susan Molinari; and Postmates Vice President of Public Policy and Strategic Communications, Vikrum Aiyer.
Three Key Takeaways
- The Gig Economy and the Changing Workforce Is on Mayors’ Minds
At the event, there was one clear question from all of the presenters: What can mayors and municipalities do to support job growth in the gig economy? With the rapid rise in digital platforms for getting work done, mayors and communities are looking at how to foster job growth while protecting the rights of their residents. A big challenge is simply defining the opportunity and the barriers. Here in Alachua and Bradford counties, we’ve been working hard on helping the federal government identify those issues and develop policies to address them. In fact, we were recently featured as one of ten local workforce development boards in a Government Accountability Office report to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.
- Growing Gig Economy Means Growing Business
Rather than viewing changes in the gig economy and tech platforms as a threat to local businesses, both Google and Postmates proposed that digital platforms are actually a benefit to local businesses and local jobs. Gig economy workers are augmenting the role of traditional employees by creating “last mile” service. Where deliveries from a major online retailer like Amazon.com may take two days to arrive, local retailers can leverage digital services like Postmates to provide same-day delivery.
- Gig Economy Jobs Present a Real Opportunity to Help Those in Need
Each of the presenters to the Committee saw a real opportunity to leverage technology to help groups of citizens with barriers to prosperity and well-being such as the elderly. For example, what if a municipal government and business community partnered with service like Uber or Lyft help provide free or low-cost transportation to senior citizens? We’ve seen real examples of this locally in Gainesville just over two years ago with the Freedom in Motion initiative.
Mr. Cabaldon commented that the Workforce and Education session was likely the second most popular meeting behind the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting.
CareerSource NCFL is a member of USCM and contributes regularly through our work on earn-and-learn programs and integration of entrepreneurship training into the workforce system.
written by Frank Avery, Executive Director CareerSource NCFL