The U.S. workforce propels U.S. leadership in innovation by stewarding the development and deployment of new products and technologies. Sustaining this leadership amidst accelerating technological change means recognizing the changing nature of work and responding to new demands for an evolving portfolio of skills. It also means ensuring that the building blocks of U.S. human capital are sound — that the U.S. education system is high performing and broadly accessible and that training resources serve workers through lifetimes of growth and change.
Failure to proactively prepare students and workers with innovation-ready skills puts the United States at a competitive disadvantage and restricts participation in the innovation economy. Inaction on this front shortchanges the full potential of U.S. human capital, undercuts efforts to capitalize on U.S. innovative capacity and increases the likelihood of painful labor market disruptions triggered by economic change. Robust investments in education and workforce training ensure that the benefits of innovation are broadly shared across the workforce and that workers thrive against a backdrop of rapid change. However, when it comes to building human capital, the U.S. approach is far from meeting this challenge.