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  • Writer's pictureUna Wirkebau

The Future of Work


The Future of Work. There has been a shift in the who’s, what’s and how’s of workforce these past few years, with our recent pandemic pushing the envelope of change. Our remote, rural area has not felt these affects as dramatically as more urban environments, but this quintessential shift in behaviors is happening across the globe. This past week, Mayor Cano and I were honored to be invited, along with 20 other Mayors and City Staff from around the country, to the National League of Cities “Future of Cities” Summit, in Utah. How entrepreneurial city leaders can shape the future of work, now.

There are 19,000 cities, towns, and villages spanning the US, each with unique economic circumstances shaped by historical, geographic, and demographic factors. Though metro areas with dense clustering of talent and other economic assets remain a fundamental driver of innovation, communities such as those found in Northern Arizona, also play a critical role in the shaping of opportunities and culture. There are major shifts in the balance of industries and regional opportunities. This is reflected most directly with employment in goods -producing industries which fell from 37 to 14%, causing a dramatic decline in manufacturing, felt in many small towns. On the flip side, service producing industries have increased from 50 to 71% of the workforce. City leaders today are tasked with these disruptive challenges and require outside the box thinking; bold ideas, requiring agility and adaptability which will test innovative solutions and may need policy updates as well as public – private partnerships to be effective.

There are four areas of action defined in this report, including; OPPORTUNITY -bringing economic development into the 21st century, TALENT -preparing our workforce to meet the moment, PLACE -cities for people, SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE – creating a more equitable, resilient and dynamic workforce. “City leaders have an opportunity to dream and reimagine the human experience of their communities through big and small innovations that will spur inclusive economic opportunity” Change is hard, but you should be proud of those who are taking charge to ensure our region thrives during this fundamental shift of social infrastructure.

The next ten years will shape the next hundred. Join us Thursday the 15th from 6 to 8 pm at the Winslow High School Performance Arts Center, to learn about new jobs, housing and education coming to our region, a reflection of the determination of your city leaders to ensure the vitality of Northern Arizona.

- Una

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