WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would better evaluate the impacts of automation on workers in order to inform workforce development strategies and best practices. The Workforce Data for Analyzing and Tracking Automation Act – which Peters reintroduced last Congress with U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-IN) – would authorize the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to record the effect of automation on the workforce and measure those trends over time, including job displacement, the number of new jobs created, and the shifting of in-demand skills. The bill would also establish a workforce development advisory board composed of key business and labor leaders to advise the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on which types of public and private sector initiatives can promote consistent workforce development improvements.
“As technological advancement continues to drive automation in our society, it’s critical we ensure workers reap the benefits of this innovation,” said Senator Peters, a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. “My bipartisan bill would help us better understand the real-life impact of these technologies and develop strategies to protect workers while bolstering economic growth and our global economic competitiveness.”
“Accurate and reliable data is a real cornerstone of advanced manufacturing technologies,” said Ingrid Tighe, President of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. “This bill ensures that automation replaces the dirty, dull, and dangerous jobs in manufacturing and the positions currently going unfilled in our manufacturing facilities, creating sustainable work opportunities for actual people. This bill will help effectively guide future workforce development initiatives, with true data to back it up.”
“I endorse the Workforce DATA Act introduced by Senators Peters and Young as a means to support innovation in the U.S.,” said Dr. Erica Groshen, former Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “By expanding relevant data, research, program evaluation and stakeholder engagement, provisions in the Act will provide the evidence needed to guide workforce development decisions as automation advances. Only with this trustworthy information can policymakers, employers and others ensure that our workers will be ready to prosper in 21st century.”
“Technological change has always been a hallmark of the transportation sector, but the pace and impacts of advancements in emerging technologies are greater now than any other time in the history of human mobility,” said Greg Regan, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO. “To ensure new transportation technologies align with our national workforce needs, we must be armed with high-quality data and better coordination among stakeholders to quickly track, analyze, and respond to the impacts of technology on current and future jobs, including their potential for job creation, displacement, wage degradation, and skills gaps or repurposing of skillsets in demand due to new technologies. The Workforce DATA Act would be an invaluable tool in helping to meet this challenge, and we thank Senators Peters and Young for their leadership on this urgent issue.”
“Innovations like autonomous vehicle (AV) technology will bring tremendous economic and societal benefit, and PTIO is committed to working with lawmakers to pursue data-driven policies that maximize these benefits for the U.S. workforce,” said Kathryn Branson, Executive Director of the Partnership for Transportation Innovation and Opportunity (PTIO). “The Workforce Data for Analyzing and Tracking Automation Act, introduced by Senators Peters and Young, will provide lawmakers and other stakeholders with data insights to support the evidence-based policies that will prepare workers for the jobs of the future and connect them with emerging career pathways.”
“The Workforce DATA Act is an important step towards understanding and preparing for the impacts automation will have on the American workforce. SAFE’s research has found that self-driving vehicle technology could unleash $800 billion in global annual social and economic benefits by 2050. However, economic changes from this technological shift will displace some workers, and to mitigate the negative impacts we must understand the scope and nature of these changes in order to prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future,” said Avery Ash, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, SAFE. “The Workforce DATA Act will help equip policymakers with the information they need to maximize the net social and economic benefits from technologies like automated driving systems.”
The Workforce DATA Act is also supported by the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Peters has been committed to leading efforts in Congress to spur technological advancement, expand workforce training and apprenticeship programs, and help create and retain jobs in Michigan. Peters helped craft and pass into law the CHIPS and Science Act to expand domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips – critical technologies needed to produce everything from automobiles to washing machines to advanced defense systems. This critical law is driving U.S. technological innovation while lowering costs of products that American families depend on, bringing high-quality jobs home, and strengthening America’s national security and global economic competitiveness. In 2020, Peters’ bipartisan legislation to allow more veterans to use their GI bill benefits toward securing a registered apprenticeship was signed into law. In 2018, Peters’ legislation to expand career and technical education was also signed into law. The legislation strengthens school counselor training and awareness of career and technical education so they can help inform students of post-high school education opportunities outside of the traditional four-year college degree.