SHIFTLABS: Northwest Arkansas

Mobility in the Face of Automation and Changing Work
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This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Read more about our 20th anniversary.

On September 5th, New America and Northwest Arkansas Council (NWAC), and a group of committed community leaders meet to discuss the potential impacts of automation on residents, employers, and communities in the region. The latest in a series of conversations in the region, this "design day" focuses on action: generating concrete ideas and steps to build a system to help vulnerable adults in the workforce become more mobile and resilient as the nature of work changes.

Northwest Arkansas is a rapidly growing smaller-but-mighty tech hub, eager to pursue a talent attraction strategy while leveraging and caring for its large workforce in retail, manufacturing/food processing, and transportation. Regional leaders know that, in order to grow and remain competitive, ensuring that adults have earning power and mobility is only one consideration; the must also be an inclusive and provide equitable opportunity if it hopes to attract and retain talent.

As in all New America ShiftLabs, our design work in Arkansas focuses on equity, family-sustaining wages, student-/worker-oriented solutions, and community-aligned priorities. You can learn more about ShiftLabs work in Indiana, West Virginia, Arkansas, Michigan from Molly Martin; for details on work in Phoenix, reach out to Megan Garcia.

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