Publication Date: October 28, 2015
By California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin
It seems nearly every day a new technological wonder changes the way Americans live, learn and work. From breakthrough apps to digital networks to automated vehicles, California is consistently a strong engine that pushes our country forward. Yet, too many in our state and elsewhere in the country, feel that opportunity is increasingly out of grasp. So often we hear of six-figure starting salaries and multibillion-dollar IPOs in Silicon Valley, but the stories are very different in places like Fresno, Bakersfield, Stockton and plenty of other American cities where the middle class is rapidly shrinking.
As digital technology thrusts our nation into its greatest economic transformation in over a century, we must work together to ensure everyone benefits. It’s time for all leaders to work through the fog of partisanship and commit to an action agenda to create opportunity for all Americans. This is the new imperative.
The Industrial Revolution of the 19th century forced America to transform the way it trained workers as they moved from field to factory. Now the digital revolution of the 21st century and our shift from an economy of bricks and mortar to one driven by software requires a different approach. We have to rethink how we educate our workforce, train workers to have skills they need for the digital age and better connect employers with job seekers.
Newsom is lieutenant governor of California. Swearengin is mayor of Fresno. They are co-authors of America’s Moment: Creating Opportunity in the Connected Age, a book by Rework America.