How to Beat the Bots
by Tom Friedman
The New York Times (June 10, 2015)

So here’s an interesting statistic from a 2014 labor survey by 65 percent of new job postings for executive secretaries and executive assistants now call for a bachelor’s degree, but “only 19 percent of those currently employed in these roles have a B.A.” So four-fifths of secretaries today would not be considered for two-thirds of the job postings in their own field because they do not have a four-year degree to do the job they are already doing! The study noted that an “increasing number of job seekers face being shut out of middle-skill, middle-class occupations by employers’ rising demand for a bachelor’s degree” as a job-qualifying badge — even though it may be irrelevant, or in no way capture someone’s true capabilities, or where perhaps two quick online courses would be sufficient.

This is just one of the problems contributing to unemployment and underemployment today. It was the subject of a seminar last Thursday jointly convened by New America, McKinsey, LinkedIn and Opportunity@Work, a new civic group led by Byron Auguste, who headed President Obama’s recent efforts to reform the education-to-work pathway in America... Read More


We Need to "Re-wire" the Labor Market 
by Byron Auguste & Tyra Mariani
New America Annual Conference (April 23, 2015)

How do we ensure that motivated Americans get the skills they need to find meaningful work, to thrive in the workplace, and to move forward in our job market?

We need to ask deeper questions about our labor market’s role in upward mobility (or immobility), because the way we assess unemployment and underemployment doesn’t tell the full story of the U.S. economy’s loss of dynamism in the past 15 years. For example, how many people are engaged by the work they do, and see a career path ahead of them? Who can clearly say: If I make the extra effort to do X, I can learn Y, and then be hired or promoted into job Z? How many can confidently quit their current job to take a better one?

Too many Americans lack that confidence, because when it comes to work, they are “stuck” without a way to translate their best efforts into economic progress. This situation undermines U.S. economic dynamism and growth, because human capital — the most valuable asset on America’s economic balance sheet — is not realizing its full value... Read More


The Wildly Ambitious Future of the Job Search 
by Rick Wartzman
Fortune Work 3.0 (March 19, 2015)

For years, businesses across America have groused that they can’t find enough qualified workers, while others have questioned whether the “skills gap” is a myth.
Amid this tired debate, it’s easy to miss the fact that many of the smartest people trying to shape the working world have moved on. They have begun to view the problem as an information gap between companies looking for capable workers and individuals struggling to land a decent job.
Driving this shift is the belief that both workers and companies stand to benefit if it’s easier for them to identify each other—and if they’re also on the same page in terms of the skills and training required to fill particular positions.
“The idea is to make all of this simpler, less expensive, and more automatic” for the employer and the employee, says Byron Auguste, co-founder of Opportunity@Work, a new nonprofit aimed at “rewiring the U.S. labor market.” Read More


New America Announces New Partnership with “Opportunity@Work”

WASHINGTON, DC (March 9, 2015) — New America announced today the launch of Opportunity@Work, a new civic enterprise to be based at New America and focused on “re-wiring” the U.S. labor market to enable more Americans to achieve economic opportunity and upward mobility in the job market and workplace.
Opportunity@Work will focus its efforts on the “demand side” of the labor market, seeking to facilitate collective investment by employers to develop the talent they need to succeed and grow, open up more accessible on-ramps into jobs, and to scale up innovations which unlock the potential of all people to master skills, qualify for better jobs, earn higher pay, and contribute more to the American economy. 
New America welcomes Byron Auguste and Tyra Mariani as co-founders of Opportunity@Work to the New America family. “I could not be more delighted that Opportunity@Work is coming to New America,” said Anne-Marie Slaughter, New America CEO and President. “It captures the essence of our concept of a civic enterprise, linking big, important ideas about how to solve public problems with direct action on the ground. Our education policy group does some of the best work around on how competency-based education can give workers the leg-up they need to join the 21st century economy; Opportunity@Work will be putting many of those ideas into practice.”
“Meaningful work that contributes to a valued outcome, earns a family living, and builds human and social capital is essential to America’s promise of upward mobility and civic equality,” said Byron Auguste, co-founder of Opportunity@Work. “Even after more than a year of strong job creation, too many Americans are either out of work or treading water in working situations that neither tap their full potential nor offer a path to job progression or higher pay. Individually, employers can’t find the skills they need - because collectively, they underinvest in developing those skills, hire in ways that overlook much potential talent, and use technology more to automate tasks than to accelerate learning. Our economy has the potential for faster and broader growth in productivity, work, and wages, if our institutions can adapt the basis on which we hire, train, and use emerging technology to develop and deploy new skills more rapidly and flexibly – not only to fill open jobs, but to make the U.S. a magnet for high-value, high-paid work.”
The launch of this partnership at New America comes as President Obama announces today at the National League of Cities conference, the TechHire initiative, a public-private initiative currently in 20 American cities, states, and rural communities to empower Americans with the skills they need, through universities and community colleges but also nontraditional approaches like “coding boot camps,” and high-quality online courses that can rapidly train workers for a well-paying job often in just a few months.
“We’re excited to support the TechHire initiative as Opportunity@Work’s first project,” said Tyra Mariani, co-founder of Opportunity@Work. “We believe that employers’ demand for trained technology workers presents an opportunity to shift hiring and training towards a more responsive, inclusive system in which if you can learn the job and do the job, you can get the job. We’ve look forward to collaborating with other committed partners to unlock potential in communities across America.  And New America’s leading insights into fast-changing education models will help us to translate policy into action.”
Media Contact
Ross van der Linde
Communications Manager, Education Policy Program
About New America
New America is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States. To learn more, please visit us online at or follow us on Twitter @NewAmerica.