How Cities can Help the Workforce

By National League of Cities, Special for  USDR

Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) released its report, The Future of Work in Cities, which examines societal shifts and advancements in technology that are impacting the rapidly changing American workforce. The report outlines solutions to help city leaders plan for the fast-approaching future, while forecasting the economic viability of two distinct sectors – retail and office administration – in which a quarter of Americans are currently  employed.

“While fear about technology taking away jobs is nothing new, cities can be proactive rather than reactive in planning for a constantly evolving economy,” said Clarence E. Anthony, NLC’s CEO and executive director. “Local leadership is vital to creating an economy that works for everyone, where every resident has an ability to make a decent living and an opportunity of economic  mobility.”

“From the agrarian society of the 19th century to a workforce characterized by digital technology, the nature of work and allocation of resources has changed dramatically,” said Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director of NLC’s Center for City Solutions. “These forces of change converge in cities, which act as epicenters of both bold experimentation and unease about the  future.”

As cities are the most responsive level of government to people, The Future of Work in Cities provides several actions for local elected officials to consider in preparing for impending workforce changes. Some of these solutions  include:

  • Investing in digital and physical infrastructure that supports modern working patterns
  • Rethinking education and workforce training programs to meet employer needs
  • Ensuring equity is considered in business development programs
  • Supporting entrepreneurs and startup communities
  • Considering forward-thinking policies such as paid family leave, portable benefits, and basic income

The full report, authored by Rainwater and NLC Principal Associate of Urban Innovation Nicole Dupuis, also features insights from several experts on the future of work including Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy; Sara Horowitz, executive director of the Freelancer’s Union; and Arun Sundararajan, professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business and author of “The Sharing  Economy.”

The Future of Work in Cities is the second report in NLC’s City of the Future series, which began with the inaugural report on mobility and technology in 2015. Both reports can be found at:

About the National League of Cities:

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.

SOURCE National League of  Cities

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