The Future of Work

This roundtable discussion presented findings from recent evaluations of two of the longest-standing remote worker attraction programs: the Vermont New Remote Workers Grant Program and Tulsa Remote, both launched in 2018.  As early adopters of remote worker incentives, both places offer important lessons to communities that offer or are considering offering incentives to attract remote workers.  A white paper and blog summarizing the session are also available.

This Brookings initiative provides resources and online tools to help local leaders. The initiative seeks to answer three questions:

    • Given current industrial makeup and knowledge of their labor force, how can cities and regions attract growth and nurture good jobs?
    • How can skill-building organizations and policymakers measure and target the skills demanded from emerging local industries to help workers, particularly the most vulnerable, transition effectively?
    • How can companies use data on worker transitions to retrain and prepare their workforce for the jobs of tomorrow? How can companies invest in their workforce to benefit their community and bottom line?

This interactive tool uses over 250,000 real job transitions to trace common pathways into and out of 441 occupations across 130 industries at the national and city level. The Mobility Pathways tool can help workers in struggling occupations find realistic pathways to in-demand jobs, give companies a new lens on recruitment and talent management, and provide policymakers with a framework for tailored and targeted economic and workforce development programs. There is a tutorial page included in the tool and an introductory blog.

In this blog post, Brookings shows that the COVID-19 recession is unique—while many jobs are being destroyed, the crisis is also creating new (if narrow) opportunities. While our data show that many of the hardest-hit occupations have not historically offered pathways into jobs that are currently growing, a number of in-demand jobs are realistic destinations for low-wage workers.

To help strengthen cities’ and regions’ future economic resilience, we developed an interactive tool to explore “job vulnerability”: the prevalence of low-wage jobs lacking employer-provided health insurance. provides data, at the sector and sub-sector levels, for 380+ metropolitan areas and 50 states plus Washington, D.C., which policymakers and firms can use to incorporate job quality into their post-COVID recovery strategies. Here is an accompanying blog.

To preserve jobs and bolster ties between workers and work, Brookings explored new policy tools—work sharing, strategic employee sharing, and portable benefits. This piece was featured in their publication Reopening America and the World: How to Save Lives and Livelihoods.

In a podcast from Harvard Business School, Marcela Escobari discussed how businesses and local leaders can foster strong post-COVID growth while ensuring opportunities for workers’ upward economic mobility.

These two reports on economic complexity and worker transitions undergird most of the work listed above.