There is a great urgency for all stakeholders, including governments, employers, academia to invest in digital upskilling and reskilling of the workforce, as digital skills become integral to the future of work and post-COVID-19 recovery. According to the APEC Closing the Digital Skills Gap Report: Trends and Insights, in developing economies such as China, Indonesia and Mexico, the demand for digitally skilled workers has been growing much faster than supply. Additionally, economies such as New Zealand, Singapore, and United States are hiring individuals with digital talent at the fastest month on month rates.
Governments continue to announce heighted investment in workforce and skills development. One of the latest examples in the United States is the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Workforce and Education Fund Science Act signed into law on August 9, 2022.
The CHIPS and Science Act includes significant investment to bolster the semiconductor and skilled technical workforces in the United States. It provides commitments for workforce training programs and apprenticeships in advanced microelectronic design, research, fabrication, and packaging capabilities and workforce development and research experiences for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to the US government announcements, companies have announced investments totaling $50 billion following the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act.
Australia introduced recent legislation to create a body dedicated to understanding and addressing the nation’s skills crisis. According to the Ministry for Industry and Science, Australia will need an additional 650,000 tech workers by 2030 to meet its 2030 targets. This includes partnering closely with the tech industry to achieve these goals. Canada has also announced additional funding for digital literacy skills training to help more Canadians get online.
These commitments spur the need for multi-stakeholder action to support workers to be prepared to meet this critical moment. To work towards closing the digital skills gap, there is not a one size fits all solution. It must be a collaborative approach, bringing together all stakeholders – including governments, employers, and academia. Crowell & Moring International has long-term experience in this area, facilitating public-private partnerships such as the APEC Closing the Digital Skills Gap Initiative. Partnerships such as these offer the opportunity to bring together diverse stakeholders to promote better understanding of the digital skills gap, enhancing understanding of best practices and increasing coordination among government, employers, and academia – helping all to make the most of these investments.
 Further information may be found in the White House Fact Sheet here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/09/fact-sheet-chips-and-science-act-will-lower-costs-create-jobs-strengthen-supply-chains-and-counter-china/