September 20, 2023 – Future of Work

In case you missed it: Changing mindset about work and learning eases job jumping, AI concerns


According to entrepreneur and Whitespace host and editor Adam Wood, job jumping is rapidly gaining steam. It is not unusual to see an employee leave a job after just 12 months, in fact.

In a recent interview, Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) Executive Director Ryan Stowers discussed this phenomenon with Wood. By helping workers develop their interests and unique aptitudes and allowing them to go after new learning opportunities, Stowers argued employers can retain workers and improve their company’s bottom lines.

How? A culture that connects work and learning and gives people the chance to find purpose will create contribution motivated workers who want to do well for themselves, their employers, and society. 

Stowers said embracing a new mindset surrounding work and learning could even reduce workforce anxiety about how new technologies like artificial intelligence will affect employees’ jobs. That is because a new learning-work paradigm will allow individuals to easily pivot their career path, add new skills to their repertoire, or understand how to use the technology to elevate their work. 

The mindset shift surrounding work and learning needs to be driven by all stakeholders — learners, workers, educators, and employers — but, for companies, it must start within leadership and human resources teams. To begin, HR leaders should reduce their reliance on degree requirements, Stowers said, since those rules keep 50-60 percent of Americans from ever applying for a job. Once employers have made that change, they can create learning programs within the community that build talent. Stowers explained how one small manufacturer created an apprenticeship program for high school students that connected the students to training opportunities that matched the student’s interests. 

The current system is “leaving millions behind,” which makes solving the current separation between work and learning one the greatest challenges facing the country, Stowers concluded. 

Whitespace is a monthly newsletter that highlights products, people, companies, industries and topics that impact our world. Watch Stowers’ full interview with Whitespace here.