The future of work is now.

Unfortunately, not everybody's ready for it. Technology's role in making reskilling accessible and equitable for all workers, it's what we're talking about today.

Today, we've got 160 million U.S. workers and the overwhelming majority of these workers are deskless, frontline, service sector workers and they're having a rough time.

How does that part go again? Those that get paid the least, always pay the most…

One in 2 jobs today are bad jobs. Workers have been paying for more and more than just in their paycheck. Over the last 25 years, investment in training in the U.S. has just kept going down. Today, it's 0.1% of GDP. It’s been said by Accenture that as many as 80% of the U.S. workforce are doing jobs with no recent instruction in the last five years. That under-investment couldn't come at a worse time.

Pre-pandemic, U.S. employee turnover was already bad – 26.3% of annual U.S. turnover. It's the highest of any industrialized country and it's been increasing year over year. And nearly half of that turnover happens in an employee’s first 90 days.

Why does it happen?

It’s the way we designed it. And that's also why we can change it. Can't just talk about the workforce without talking about workers. Gallup had a research study that came out a few years ago, that said 15% of the global workforce wakes up every day and is “excited” about going to work. And, that was before the pandemic. That's bad.

It's been getting worse since remote work. The labor impact and the attack on workers from everyday consumers, politicians, business leaders –– we've gone from calling workers great to calling them lazy. We can't turn on the television today without being bombarded with messaging around this thing called “The Great Resignation,” where it's believed that 1 in 2 workers are going to leave their jobs before the end of 2021.

How does this happen?

Bad decisions, bad strategy, bad investment, and bad technology. Ninety-one percent of the way we skill workers up is stuck in yesterday. Modules, manuals, videos...that's the way we've been doing it, in 2021. And we're not even sure what works today.

Eighty-seven percent of what you learn on these platforms is thought to be forgotten in as little as 30 days. It can be said that 50% of our workforce is completely forgotten and unserved by today's tools, according to Harvard Business Review.

HBR also found that only 1% of workforce training and education is available mobile-first. And the future of work is now. I've told you about the state of our workforce. Low-wage works dominated and we talked about outdated tools and strategies -- that's the infrastructure that is crumbling.

We need to change. We need to invest in infrastructure that will help our workers today and our children tomorrow in preparation for a long work-life.

Another recent study came out that believes the first human that's going to live to 150 years old is in a crib somewhere. Yes, 150 years...

That's 110 to 120-year-old work life. That's not boomers who grew up at a time and lived a life where they carried four to five jobs in their career. That's someone carrying 25 to 30-plus jobs in their lifetime.

Do we have the infrastructure to support it? We can act now to build a more diverse, more equitable, more competitive, and more inclusive future world. But, we must act now.

Every worker deserves access to quality job training, support, mentorship, and education so they can win on the job and fairly compete in the workforce of tomorrow. It's time that we give all workers, what they need most, a RAISE. Raising up all workers is not just about a paycheck or a job. It's about providing a fair shot for every worker so we can build a more inclusive, competitive, and equitable workforce. And, we can do it by leaning into tech and not by being afraid.

Now let’s get into some details. Here is my five-point plan of action that we can take to better prepare every worker in our workforce for the future of work:

Reskill workers in COVID-19 impacted jobs and industries, including individuals who have lost their jobs, those working in a changed environment, and those starting new jobs.

The World Economic Forum’s latest future of work report found that half of all employees around the world will need reskilling by 2025. And, that doesn't include people who are currently unemployed. Yet, despite that reality that we mentioned earlier, only 0.1% of GDP is invested in programs that help people adjust to workplace changes. Federal investments and skills training has decreased by nearly 40% over the last two decades. That decrease in investment in our workforce has occurred at a time when the global skills gap continues to widen and we face an unprecedented need to reskill and upskill every worker, in every industry. Simply put, we’ve got too many 20th-century solutions to 21st-century problems.

Align companies, education providers, public workforce divisions, community organizations, and tech companies to form a network of 21st-century industry partnerships.

A recent finding from WEF’s Future of Jobs Report, found that if we create greater public and private collaboration on a large scale, upskilling and reskilling initiatives could boost global GDP by $6.5 trillion. That's five million-plus jobs by 2030. These types of partnerships are what also help transform colleges and universities from time sinks in skill factories by giving students and staff a clear idea of what skills industry leaders are looking for in graduates.

Invest in a future of work infrastructure that leverages technology to reach workers, regardless of tenure or job title, with a specific focus on our most vulnerable.

Did you know that 50% of today's work activities can be automated by 2055 and almost half of U.S. jobs are at high risk of being taken over or heavily impacted by automation? Another 19% face a medium level of risk yet only 40% of HR leaders are redesigning jobs to prepare for the future of work.

Eighty-three cents of every dollar goes to the top of an organization and it doesn't quite get to the people that need it most. This is where technology can help. The vast majority of workers today who need upskilling and retraining, aren't getting it. In the small amount of time and resources that most companies devote to these efforts, they go to the top-level executives who need least or to compliance training instead of skill development. If you want to create a more equitable, diverse, thriving future of work, where every worker is supported and has the ability to level up, then the federal government needs to play a part in investing in a mobile-first future of work infrastructure that can be used to reach all workers. And, companies also should be thinking that way.

Support a worker’s freedom to learn and upskill anytime, anywhere.

Current labor rules were written yesterday before the internet was created and they're holding workers back. Workers that want to succeed in today's workforce know upskilling learning and reskilling are lifelong endeavors. Today, the half-life of skills is only five years, which means that many of the new skills a worker has now is going to be worthless by the time they start their next job or move to a new industry. Our businesses, our federal, state, and local governments can step in to invest in a digital credentialing ecosystem that recognizes work experience, non-traditional learning programs, and creates a world where things are affordable to the employee so they can take them throughout their career.

Eliminate discrimination that restricts a worker's ability to fairly compete, acquire new skills, and access training.

There are many different kinds of discrimination that restrict workers, including discrimination that's based on race, gender age. But other kinds of discrimination are less obvious like knowledge discrimination, discrimination based on past court involvement, discrimination caused by the digital divide, racist algorithms, as well as poor tech design practices. Rising inequality also makes it harder to spot future talent and it stunts workplace growth and innovation.

There are policy solutions that can help end this type of discrimination.

Policymakers can work to remove barriers that prevent workers from accessing school or training activities. It includes childcare, housing, medical care. For example, many workers don't leave their dead-end jobs because they don't want to lose their health insurance. This prevents employees from investing in their own learning and pursuing better jobs.

Another way to decrease hiring discrimination is to ban the box on job applications that ask candidates about their past court involvement. More than 65 million Americans may not even apply for jobs from all types of companies because of their criminal record. Preventing workers from even applying for jobs is a discriminatory practice. It stunts business growth and discourages people working to improve themselves and invest in their careers and their development.

Our workforce deserves a raise. And, technology can play a major part.

The future of work is now. Although we’re not ready for it, we can take action. Technology's role in making reskilling accessible and equitable for everybody is possible. We have the people, we have the know-how, we have the tools, we just have to act.

Now, back to work.

Sam Caucci is the founder and CEO of 1Huddle