November 30, 2020
Virtual Panel Event Recorded by World Affairs Council of Atlanta

Key Takeaways: WACA Panel Event – Overlooked America: Building Jobs and Tech Skills

Industry experts 1901 Group, AWS re/Start, AWS Institute, and special guest, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez discuss developing plans for reskilling and workforce training

WACA Panel Event On November 24, 2020, The World Affairs Council of Atlanta hosted a virtual panel discussion, “Overlooked America: Building Jobs and Tech Skills”, with industry experts to raise awareness on the need for reskilling and preparing workers for a changing economy.  At the heart of the problem is a significant mismatch between the skills that the rural unemployed currently posses and the skills that high-growth employers are seeking.

We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the joblessness crisis but it has also helped to normalize the concept of remote work and helped employers, workers, and policymakers understand that people can live in one community while working or studying in another.

Ambassador Charles Shapiro (World Affairs Council) welcomed guest speaker, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez, and industry experts Brendan Walsh, SVP Partner Relations of 1901 Group; Tejas Vashi, Global Leader of AWS re/Start Program; and Laura Dawson, Principle Program Manager of AWS Institute to discuss how to build jobs in the rural community, match the right skills, and how workers can figure out the next steps in the tech sector employment journey.

The real challenge is not individual aptitude; rather; how to get training opportunities to rural or overlooked communities. Brendan Walsh shares key take aways from the panel discussion:

  1. Developing Plans for Reskilling/Upskilling Will Be Key: Former U.S. Secretary Carlos Gutierrez highlighted that the United States needs to develop plans and infrastructure to assist millions of citizens to reskill/upskill into technology jobs. To keep up the speed of change, successful companies of the future will be “learning companies” that incorporate continual learning, training, and professional certifications into the career development plans of all of their employees.
  2. Successful Workforce Training Requires 3 Things: Attributes and characteristics for successful reskilling/upskilling and technical workforce development include: 1) individuals that are inquisitive by nature and curious about “how” and “why” things work or don’t work, 2) individuals must have access to high speed Internet which currently is a limitation for rural communities in America, and 3) individuals should have access to both technology trainings and “hands-on” or On The Job (OTJ) experience for a successful reskilling/upskilling curriculum. AWS re/Start and 1901 Group’s Cloud Pathways programs include both technology trainings and “hands-on” or On The Job (OTJ) experience.
  3. The Role for Federal, State, and Local Governments: As we have seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and looking forward, our Federal, State & Locals governments should incentivize and ensure that rural and remote access (for work, learning, and socializing) is incorporated into our daily operations so as to protect our country’s workforce resiliency, government Continuity of Operations (COOP), and National Security.

If you missed the live event, watch the full panel discussion here.

Learn more about the future of work here.



Relevant Links:


Please share this post!