Episode 302: The Future of Work With Jackie Black

This episode of the Workology Podcast is part of a podcast series powered by the Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (or PIA). PIA is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). In November of 2020, ODEP launched PIA to ensure all apprenticeship programs are inclusive and accessible to people with disabilities. 

Episode 302: The Future of Work With Jackie Black (@jackmblack), Director of Membership, CTA 

PIA collaborates with employers and apprenticeship programs to help meet employer talent needs and enable people with disabilities to benefit from apprenticeships that increase their opportunities for lifelong access to high-growth, high-demand jobs.

I spoke to Jackie Black, Director of Membership for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Jackie leads CTA’s Future of Work initiatives that demonstrate the tech industry’s commitment to closing the nation’s skills gap, growing the number of high-skilled jobs, and investing in creating a fully-equipped, diverse, and inclusive 21st century workforce.

I asked Jackie to tell us a bit about CTA. “The Consumer Technology Association is North America’s largest technology trade association. Our members are the world’s leading innovators, from startups to global brands, these members help support over 18 million American jobs. CTA supports our members through market research, advocacy, technology standards, media support and networking and business development. We also own and produce CES, the most influential tech event in the world. CES 2022 is returning live in Las Vegas January 5th through the 8th.”

CTA is also committed to supporting vulnerable populations, including seniors and people with disabilities. I asked Jackie to talk about the focus and work of the CTA Foundation.

“CTA created the foundation as a way to give back on behalf of the tech industry. The foundation focuses on two growing yet often overlooked communities, older adults and people with disabilities. Its mission is to link seniors and PWDs with technology to enhance their lives. Now more than ever this mission is hitting home because we saw people around the world experiencing isolation and other challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The populations that the foundation serves are also the most likely to be impacted by the virus.”

Resources That Support the Future of Work 

I feel like I’m pretty informed about resources in tech, but I wasn’t aware of CTA’s 21st Century Workforce Council or The CTA Apprenticeship Coalition (which was announced at CES in 2019 in partnership with IBM). I asked Jackie how these programs.work to support the goal of closing the skills gap in tech. “CTA entered the workforce space in 2016 because we saw the impact of rapid technological change on the workforce. So we committed to this mission of addressing the nation’s skills gap, growing the number of high quality jobs, and increasing employment in the tech sector. CTA’s mission is to advance the tech industry, but our members aren’t traditional tech companies…every company is now a tech company. The US tech sector could generate 8 million new jobs by 2023, this includes a lot of “new collar jobs,” or positions that don’t require a four-year degree. A lot of these workers are trained through vocational schools, boot camps, community colleges, high school technical education and apprenticeships.” 

“The other part of the challenge is that US companies are facing a major skills shortage for all STEM positions and there is a need to expose students of all ages to STEM early to prepare them for the jobs of the future without expensive degrees, loans and debt. We help our member companies with workforce programs to meet these challenges. These initiatives include our 21st Century Workforce Council and this is a forum for business executives at any level to share best practices and address challenges to prepare the workforce for jobs of the future. We also have the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition which is teaching tech companies how to leverage apprenticeship programs to cultivate and retain talent. I want to stress that getting people back to work and equipped with in demand skills is one of the most important undertakings for our nation right now.”   

“Getting people back to work and equipped with in demand skills is one of the most important undertakings for our nation right now.” - @jackmblack #WorkologyPodcast #PIA Click To Tweet

I asked Jackie how the CTA Apprenticeship Coalition works to support apprenticeships in tech. “It’s a collaborative effort with IBM and our goal is to expand apprenticeship opportunities nationwide. Members of the coalition collaborate and draw from IBM’s apprenticeship program, which they launched in 2017 to help develop and scale their own program. IBM open sourced their playbooks, their guide, their frameworks of occupations that are registered with the Department of Labor with CTA member companies. It’s a great value to these members. Since the inception of the coalition, it has helped new members launch apprenticeship programs.” 

“As an example, Bosch’s program is in software engineering and they call it their IOT Apprenticeship. The goal of the 12-month program is to recruit talented non engineers who have transferable skills so they can then train them in architecture, design and coding, and ultimately employ the apprentices full time. It’s a build strategy that helps Bosch meet their software engineering needs when it’s very challenging to find this talent. Their first cohort includes people from a wide variety of backgrounds. They have a former chef, a shop technician, a personal banking manager, who are all shifting their careers to technology.”

“At the start of the pandemic, we were concerned that our coalition members would scale back these programs…but what our members said is that tech apprenticeships will be critical to economic recovery and this was the time to expand programs to help the millions who were unemployed during the pandemic get back to work faster.”

Apprenticeships are such an amazing way to fill your talent funnel for tech jobs and beyond. They offer a great way to create diversity in your talent pool with groups like people with disabilities. Having an organization and a community like the CTA is a great way to learn best practices and get access to other business leaders like you. I love CTA’s commitment in this area to support companies big as well as small. I appreciate Jackie sharing her experience with us on the podcast.

Listen to the entire podcast for more from Jackie Black, including how CTA can work to support DEI initiatives and how smaller companies can support apprenticeship programs and learning initiatives with budget constraints. 

Connect with Jackie Black.



– Jackie Black on LinkedIn

– Jackie Black on Twitter

– Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship

– Consumer Technology Association

– CTA Foundation

– Future of Work: 2020 CTA Member Survey

– Episode 298: Creating Inclusive Apprenticeships with Josh Christianson of PIA

Episode 141: Future of Work: Apprenticeships and Employing People With Disabilities

– How do We Prepare our Workforce for the Jobs of the Future that Don’t Exist Today?

– Episode Transcript

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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