Former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about "The Work Ahead," a new report, sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, on the 21st century American workforce. Pritzker co-chaired the committee that developed the report along with fellow business leader John Engler. "The Work Ahead" recommends a nationwide re-evaluation of education, training and how to think about working alongside machines. Pritzker also talks about why President Trump can't run the country like a business and why her hometown of Chicago should be the site of Amazon's second headquarters.
United States


00:00:00Hi i'm care swisher editor at large at recode you may know me as someone who can't be replaced by a machine but in my spare time i talk tech and you're listening to rico decode from the box media podcast network today in the red chair is penny pritzker
00:00:14the former u s secretary of commerce in the obama administration She's also the co author of the work ahead a report about the american workplace in the twenty first century that was sponsored by the council on foreign relations It calls for a fundamental policy changes to better support
00:00:28us workers Many welcome back to rico decode thank you commerce secretary went ahead you on yellow's Yes Yeah are you were in the previous segment astray Shin glad to be here So let's talk about your background Just give you a very quick so people may not have listen
00:00:42to that you are a real estate about basically i've been in business for thirty years and over thirty years actually And then ah president obama asked me i'm not a politician asked me if i would come in You were an early supporter Yes i have known him for
00:00:57a long time and he asked me if i would come in and service commerce secretary and to help him with his relationship with the business community and help with economic policy and then really be the chief commercial advocate for american business around the world right which you did
00:01:14and you're not just a business person your big real estate and fire you guys do a lot of things and lots of different businesses but primarily real estate initially and my early career was primarily in real estate Now i'm doing a lot more in technology right And we're
00:01:28gonna talk about that you served his commerce secretary just go over your biggest hits but what was your focus Well my focus was a lot on attracting foreign direct investment because it creates great jobs in the united states and great opportunity the first ever digital agenda for the
00:01:45united states i also focused on a skilled workforce which we'll talk about more later and unlocking our data you know the data revolutionize just starting the department of commerce produces about twenty to forty terabytes of data and a long exist it's a model that exactly census part of
00:02:03the department of commerce as is the weather ah and we also created digital attache program to help american businesses that were trying to sell their products digitally around the world ah broadband expansion very important to make sure most americans could get access to high speed internet patent protection
00:02:24big initiatives there the u s you privacy shield you know we post snowden we had lost the safe harbor to transfer digital information back and forth between the united states and europe sector workers over there right now not answering questions at the european parliament Well we had to
00:02:43work very closely with eu to solve that problem because we had thousands of businesses here who had somewhere around two hundred ninety billion dollars worth of digital trade at risk Right So we were able to fix that and put that back together So a lot of different things
00:02:57that we did very exciting at your advanced manufacturing also worked really hard We did fourteen advanced manufacturing institutes called manufacturing yusa around the united states The goal being how do you take great ideas They're sitting in the laboratory and get him to market in the next five to
00:03:17seven years so the united states could lead whether it was in composite materials or it might be in different forms of energy Lorne make here things we could make here as sell not only not only sell here but sell around the world and i love the name Advance
00:03:33manufacturing sounds of promise That's one of those problems it is promising So what'd you say your overall take a secretary was what was your theory of what The commerce define being in government because you were a business person moving to government My thesis of the department of commerce
00:03:49is we were a service organization So whether we with census full of data or the weather service full of information that was needed every single day or we were offering you a patent or a trademark or if you had sensitive material you wanted to send you know sell
00:04:04around the world would give you permission If it you were selling to people that we thought made sense So i viewed the department of commerce as a service organization and we really we put together a strategic plan that really focused the whole department and said we're going to
00:04:21do trade and foreign direct investment We're going to focus on innovation a better skilled workforce advanced manufacturing digital policy data making our data more available and then environmental intelligence which is really what noah provides And the view was our customer was first the business community because they're the
00:04:45ones who are using our capabilities the most But also was to help the rest of the government be more efficient right And one of the things was digitizing each of these agencies which they hadn't been that was a big push during exactly exactly it was really amazing how
00:05:00far behind the department was when i arrived our email didn't work you know go out for four hours a day and people would tell me that was normal and i said no that's not normal it's not the way it works in the real no it doesn't and we
00:05:13really we in fact took the department to the cloud so we kind of leapfrogged the bad technologies that we had and really pressed forward the other thing we did is we created the commerce digital service where what we did is train people within the organization how to use
00:05:31our data how to bring it to life how to create a p eyes how tio er code we had over three thought we only ran the program for the last eighteen months we had over three thousand people within the department go through our programs and so you sort
00:05:47of like we had trainers who helped train fights who could bring the department tow life it's it was exciting yeah and so how would you look back on your government experience What would you say You know that given what happened afterwards too i mean we'll talk about it
00:06:01i loved it i felt at first it was an honor to serve our country and i felt like i had the privilege of bringing everything i'd ever learned in my life to try and help the american people And i took that very seriously every single day whether it
00:06:17was trying to you'll bring more jobs here to the united states maybe through travel and tourism policy we were on a plan to i have one hundred million travelers to the united states that's all gone awry Now i mean but you know with travelers comes it enormous job
00:06:35creation here we were bringing factories from around the world to the united states We were and so i felt that you know it was exciting we were building bridges with mexico because the supply chains of the united states very much extend into our partners in canada and mexico
00:06:54But the infrastructure both what if it came to air ah infrastructure or our border crossings for goods and services were really antiquated and we work closely The vice president put me in charge of the high level economic dialogue on his behalf And we got enormous things done that
00:07:15to the benefit of american business and the american worker that you know made it much easier for goods and services to flow back and forth between our countries It also strengthened the country's on our borders would you we felt was really important to have a stronger buffer between
00:07:32strong mexico is better a strong mexico is good for the united states a strong candidate is good for the united states so i felt as a business person who spent you know had time in government for three and a half years that it was extraordinary and it changed
00:07:50my view of the world and i also felt that it was possible to work with across the aisle i mean well we worked with everyone even ted cruz said to me said commerce is ah bipartisan issue we ought to be able to work together and we did i
00:08:08mean i had the my authorize er's and the members of congress that also gave us our money were republican leaders and it worked very well with them but should you explain what are you trying to get done How are you going to do it right Why you're going
00:08:26to spend the money efficiently Why it's in the best interest of the taxpayer to use our resource is in a certain fashion which i took that part very seriously right Because unlike running a business you're you can't just decide what you're going to d'oh it's a democracy and
00:08:44democracy means you have to bring other people along and you use the term gone awry so how do you reflect on what's happening now you did all this stuff and it seems as if they stuck in a drawer This well a challenge Yes many things have been stuck
00:09:00in a drawer and the other thing is we have a lot of chaos you know certainly is secretary of course wants to run it like a business and you can do anything you want That's that's what i think when he says i'm gonna bring business things you just
00:09:11meant said something very clear like when your business you can do what you want and democracy you can't you gotta work together well and and one thing we all know is certainly your businesses want certainty they want to they want to understand the playing field and they won't
00:09:25understand the rules and then they're willing to operate within them and then they're willing to invest and then they're willing to create jobs So we were very focused on job creation but what we knew is the federal government doesn't create jobs private sector creates jobs so we had
00:09:41to create the conditions where the private sector would want to invest and grow and create jobs And that was a very much a focus of ours because remember it's hard to remember when we started when i came in I think unemployment was around eight percent when you know
00:09:55president obama came in it was north of ten percent so we were very focused on job creation but we understood that's not the government doesn't create those jobs right and what we knew is is that you needed to create also greater certainty so that companies had conviction that
00:10:12they're going to clarity lead they would take a business risk but they didn't want to take a geopolitical risk if you will or geo economic you know things going to ride today you know there's a lot of uncertainty it makes it very difficult to invest right what do
00:10:28you look at how do you look at the commerce department today then while they seem very focused on the trade deficit which was not a focus of ours i mean the trade debt the factors that go into a trade deficit are much bigger than trade agreements so what
00:10:43we were focused on was how do we open our markets so that we get more investment in the united states so that which creates jobs and creates opportunity and economic benefit for americans right we were focused on market access to other countries and working with other countries to
00:11:01be able to have easier access into there ah economies and you know it wasn't always easy we had a lot of success but we ran into also a lot of challenges You know what i worry about is um it takes a very sustained consistent effort to make change
00:11:23across if you want in trade relations if you think about tpp were questioning what leverage do we have with china right what we throughout tpp it took i think north of six seven eight years to get tpp put together you can't just like say ok i want to
00:11:42do a new deal and and that's all going to just happen quickly and so that's the challenge that i think we face is understanding what are the rules now right nobody seems to know what look at the china thing right now whether it's china well it was started
00:11:59off with that we're going to we're going toe shake you down and then giving up on that we're going we're going to deny you this and then get it looks like saying something crazy and then walking it back yeah i don't understand the strategy i can't make sense
00:12:13of it and it seems to be that the positioning changes day today what's causing internally there's people who disagree there seems to be i mean i don't i'm not privy to that but what i know from them as someone who's a business person it's very hard to sort
00:12:30out it's very hard to figure out then where do i want to put my capital so that i can you know craig economic activity which is i think frankly what everybody wants right creating account and and fairness is there anything that you think is very okay to focus
00:12:48on trade deficits and sort of damp with china take on the chinese well i think china look there's no doubt there's a challenge with market access in china i've said this to the chinese it's not like this is news from me and certainly this administration is is it
00:13:03attacking that issue There's no doubt there's challenges about intellectual property protection my question is theater pro tch which is i think that this you know threatening and ah ah very um vitriolic kind of conversation that is hoping then that someone's going to say i've been wrong all this
00:13:30time and i'm going to back off it doesn't that's not how governments relate to one night my thesis has always been the way to work with another government let's say on the economic issues is to help them understand why it's in their best interest to make it easier
00:13:45for american companies to have access to their markets and the approach that we took was to say you know here the rules that you've got that are impediment for foreign direct investment you have a public statement you want our investment in your come tree and we want yours
00:14:02here you've created impediments whether its intellectual property protection or we don't have access to certain markets are things like that and say that's not helping you nor is it helping us and let's find places where it's in everyone's best interest to make judges like great i was just
00:14:22press releases its just statements and then there's no we're moving from issue to issue and i and it doesn't seem there's a strategic pattern here no i just think it's just utterances you know you go from very threatening remarks to them and we're gonna help the chinese company
00:14:36which i think most intelligence officials are disturbed by to this to that to that and it looks like nothing's been gotten in the end from it it's very hard done beginning and even marco rubio gets that they're giving concessions they were going to give anyway so you're not
00:14:51getting anything is very hard to understand and when you when i listened to the officials are officials talk they're very opaque about what we got in return or what with the promises that were made you know agricultural access is very challenging right It's a bennett the number of
00:15:11negotiations that secretary vilsack and i and ambassador from and engaged in on agricultural access it's just not something that happens overnight right And so uh it'll be interesting to see if somehow out of this chaos comes major breakthroughs but our experience certainly with china's you have to have
00:15:34a very steady long term right hand and you have to be consistent to make breakthrough with them Absolutely And so since then you've left getting off this something you left he left office he went back and created a new company which is the real estate and other things
00:15:49private equity Yes so i'm came back at tio create p s p partners and we really do a couple of things in the corporate area were focused on what we've always been is building businesses and we invest across the spectrum in venture growth and more established businesses and
00:16:10what we're trying to do is take advantage of global trends So whether it's urbanization so in our real estate effort were ah we're developing and own a whole portfolio of multi family apartment buildings in the united states and mexico or its logistics are changing we're in we're part
00:16:30we create industrial product industrial buildings and try to solve problems for companies trying to get their goods tomorrow you looking club want to do that exactly But then on the on the more corporate in text side we're also focused on bringing technology to establish businesses or the data
00:16:48revolution so i'll give you a couple examples there for example were invest in a company called wire wheel which is creating a solution to help companies know Where is their sensitive data at any time so that they could be compliant with gop are or were own a company
00:17:06called beachfront media that is a technology advertising business eh So we're trying to be in areas of the economy that we think have growth very like toe work with entrepreneurs and business founders to build businesses and to help them grow their enterprises right and then then two other
00:17:26things you've done since that is one is this we're going to talk about a second this this report the work ahead which i want to get into in the next section and you want to join the border microsoft i did Why Well why not Well um why Because
00:17:39first of all they asked me you just get to show i bet you get asked a lot Well i i wanted to join the board of microsoft i was really interested in joining the board of one of our leading technology companies and to realize that because because there's
00:17:57so much i was not something you wanted to do right Well there are seventeen board seats that they may be asking you i'm guessing seventeen boards he sets a lot well they need a lot of they need a lot of over well i i have no information about
00:18:11that but what i would say about microsoft is is i really i think such is the truth likely transfer educational leader i think the culture i really agree with what they're trying to do what he's trying to do and where the leadership of that company is going culturally
00:18:28and i believe in the products that they're you have created are creating and are delivering but it is a vertical learning curve for me i'm the first person to tell both sucha and brad smith who's the president i something the codex i think he's fabulous on dh he's
00:18:46been a great thought partner and leader when i was in the department of commerce in terms of issues of privacy in the digital agenda and so for me it was a company that i thought would help keep me on the leading edge of what's happening in technology and
00:19:02i feel that's extremely important as a business person right to understand what's going on absolute so so what you are working else is this the work ahead besides the business If you're doing and we're going to talk about the minute could you just give us a two second
00:19:13virgin in the next section We'll talk about it in detail what's the point of this was sure the point is the work ahead is is that we have seismic forces that are changing the very nature of work the kind of innovation we've got automation globalization artificial intelligence and
00:19:27americans are struggling to adjust and thrive in this environment and so the council on foreign relations as john angler and i to lead a task force of twenty experts to put together a menu of options for for federal leaders state and local leaders business leaders and ngos All
00:19:47right we're going to talk more about this with a penny pritzker she's the co author of the work ahead he's also used to run the commerce department a business person on the board of microsoft and we'll talk about this top because topic this near and dear to my
00:19:58heart is something i'm very interested in is how so passionate about that because i think it affects everything called ursula politics and could get worse in lots of and our national security our national security anyone would get back from word from our sponsors today's show is brought to
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00:21:16tell you about one of our other podcasts recode media with peter kafka peter who did you talk to this week Cara this week i talked to roman mars is the guy i mean it's a great name has got a great voice You're going along with this guy's voice
00:21:28he's a podcaster and a radio Broadcasters got behind ninety nine percent invisible al fan tests which you've heard before is a co founder of radio topia which there's a very cool podcast network so we had a good short concise conversation about podcasting Sounds great peter you confined recode
00:21:44media on apple podcast spotify google play music wherever you listen to podcasts we're here with penny pritzker the co author of the work ahead she was also commerce secretary in the obama administration business person microsoft board member everything else we were just talking this work ahead so talk
00:22:00about what some of the content of this is because as you know i'm i've been doing some tv shows on this topic and where it's going cause i think it impacts everything well first of all you're doing i love your interviews that you're doing on this it's it's
00:22:11really important look the pew research has said seventy five percent of americans are really they have enormous angst about their job that they have today and about the future they're family and you know i always like to make this personal i like to think about who are the
00:22:27people that we're talking about and i think about you know cory powell from the south side here's a guy in chicago south side of chicago he had been worked for an architectural steel manufacturer was a production supervisor they revamped the plant he loses his job he can't find
00:22:47work for a year Part of his challenge was he didn't know how to explain if he'd been a supervisory was the manager he had technical skills he didn't know how to present himself and on social media on facebook he finds out about skills for chicago land's future and
00:23:04he basically is given coaching and skills training and then has a job today at another company called friedman seating which is a manufacturer of mass transit seats and he's had to pay raises he's been promoted The challenge out there is the workplace is changing and how do we
00:23:27as help americans manage the change in the workplace whether it's in manufacturing or it's an accounting or it's in white collar work it's happening to all of us Right And i think you know what's interesting is this past election i think was all about work i mean you
00:23:44can point to racism you point a lot of fearmongering but this is a candidate took advantage of the fears that's what it and and then another group of people that didn't have solutions to those fear didn't have answers enough answers about what work was going and i think
00:23:58if you could boil it down there's there's all kinds of issues around an interesting candidate but ultimately it was about work as far as i could tell like people worried about where it's going and the the topics i think you just alluded to one was automation and robotics
00:24:14I think you put those together yes to changes in transportation self driving and yes structure a i and i and all the machine learning and all the out parts of that and then the general feeling that some of these jobs are just not going to be there in
00:24:28the future that the way this is a cz if we're going to farming as we did from farming to manufacturing something is about to change really significantly i think we're in the change and what we haven't done is acknowledged that on said we need a systems change we
00:24:43need a cultural change first of all life long learning has got to be available to every right and we also have to be better connecting better link so both your education and your skills training to jobs right there are new jobs are all kinds of jobs being created
00:25:01i haven't spoken to a ceo in this country and i spoke to are probably twenty five hundred one i was in congress who didn't tell me i can't find the skilled workforce i need right and yet you've got people are unhappy with the opportunity in front of thumb
00:25:14and then the third thing you've got is i was just in toronto this past ah weak and toronto is growing at one percent a year and many of those folks are people who are working for american companies that are having to locate in canada because of the immigration
00:25:32policy right So we'll get to immigration way we need a system change in terms of the work force you know basically are our thesis is that lifelong learning has got to be available to every american we've got to make pell grants more flexible map grants more flexible we
00:25:52need to make it more transparent for individuals to understand how do i get from where i'm out I'm in tenth grade i want to become somebody whose works in a i i may not even understand what a i is right But how do i get there what's that
00:26:07path We don't have the counselors available right to do that what's the technology tools that can help there are some that exist you i met this fabulous group in out of san diego called journeys and they have mapped across the united states you say here's where i am
00:26:25today both physically and how let's say what stage i am in my education and you say i want to become a cyber security expert on and they will and the tool will map for you where within your geography first what are the past moments like you know a
00:26:44mapping function before driving your car what's the path you need to take in order to achieve your objectives one of the courses you need to tell you where you might be able to take them with in your region it's we need more tools like that the business roundtable's
00:27:00created something called credential engine you go online and it tells you if you have certain credentials what does that prepare you for We need to make all of that much more about how we think about work in the u s before this because this is the twenty four
00:27:14years knowing that they were in the twenty first century but the way i think work has been done in this country is not planned it all it's sort of like get out there and just you're just they just loose you on society is loose you on the workforce
00:27:27Absolutely i think about you know young people and you have young people who make it through high school and for one reason or another need toe work and college is not something they're going to pursue it that moment you know What are we doing to prepare that person
00:27:45and what are their options We have a history of doing that much at it I mean you know we do nothing we don't do it there we don't do it for the young person sylar's we have we used to be apprenticeship your hundreds of you had how we
00:27:58have college counselors we do not have career counselors we do not have and that's why i talk about the two rules that are available online we need to read one of the things our report calls for is we need to reinsert career counseling back into the education system
00:28:14and we need to support those people with tools that great greater transparency so that you can help people who on dh this is this is dealing with the young person it's not dealing with the mid career person who finds himself out of work there's a different set of
00:28:29tools that need to be created there but we need to acknowledge this is a reality and americans air resourceful if you help them help themselves they're going to do great and so are our report book that's a fundamental thesis but we're not making this easy a cz you
00:28:48said we're basically saying to someone figure it out on your own right and we're telling families i saw this when i was secretary of commerce we did something called manufacturing day we were promoting advanced manufacturing trying to show kids that advanced manufacturing is not your father your grandfather
00:29:05right grandmothers manufacturing and families came to this it was the last one we did we had a half a million young people in their families coda manufacturing plants all over the country and what the what was so interesting I talked with a number of the parents they said
00:29:21help me help my child i don't know how to teach them how to do advanced manufacturing or what do they need to learn because i didn't do that right because it didn't exist i was a parent meeting yesterday in a very elite school same thing and we started
00:29:35to bring up this issue around coding we didn't we weren't trying to say everybody has to code although that's been a big push that it was beyond just learning how to code it's how to understand the next society and all the parents educated parents very wealthy parents just
00:29:50were besides themselves too they're like i don't know what to tell my kids like exactly submitted one problem and imagine you don't i was don't be a radiologist that's what that's my first piece of advice but imagine you don't have parents of means and you're really trying you're
00:30:05just trying to navigate the system and the system is there's nobody to really to help you right And and so we need this is why i say we need a systems change like you mentioned when we went from the agricultural age the industrial age at that time the
00:30:20united states government made major policy we made public high school mandatory we made certain courses mandatory we said here's what we're going to do in order to try and hair are individuals to be competitive in in a manufacturing home in a manufacturing economy both domestically and globally we
00:30:41have we're not doing any of thiss i do have faith though in governors and in mayer's big city mayors i think that they get it and they see because they're all in a competition to attract jobs that they've got it there for adopt policies that prepare their work
00:30:59for so you're seeing all kinds of innovative things going on around the united states but you're not seeing them go to scale all right was that sucks about some of the issues so let's talk about the the issues the problems that the work ahead so one is a
00:31:13ay ay ay go you go through what you think the problem Well i mean the challenges that you see are as i said one of the technologies that exist that are creating disruption in jobs they're also creating new jobs So identifying so identify one of the challenges is
00:31:30identifying what's the path that i need to be on to get to those new jobs or the path to get off of or the path to get off of where i'm not where i'm at and how do i bridge then to greater opportunity it kind of reminds me
00:31:45i was thinking like if you were back in the before cars showed up just before cars should appear just as they did Being the person saying i don't think you should shoot horses anymore i feel like you shouldn't cheat your children to shoot horses right Perhaps because this
00:31:58car thing looks like it might replace or like that's the kind of thing you can see you know job after job after job like that right identifying the jobs So part of the challenge is identifying Think of this many of these careers they didn't exist a decade ago
00:32:13Forget when i came out of school they didn't exist ten years over a driver Well whether drivers whether an over driver or or your you want to be a cyber security expert you want to be somebody who specializes in machine learning You're you know doing the kind of
00:32:32diagnosis that's going on with ah new types of biotechnology I mean it requires different kinds of training Not all of it also requires that you go and have four years of college and graduate school et cetera et cetera And so you know transparency is a big issue and
00:32:53that's one of the biggest challenges we have which is making easier to understand those pathways and we can harness data and they're both companies and part of what we tried to do with the department of commerce was to make more of this available to help people understand the
00:33:08other challenges benefits if you think about it many people are in their benefits through their jobs full time health care exactly how their workers comp retirement benefits you could go on and on and how sick leave et cetera If i'm part of the gig economy or i'm a
00:33:27contract worker or i have a portfolio of jobs more and more young people have a portfolio of jobs they're doing this siri's of things they're entrepreneurial number twenty five jobs nearly in your lifetime Yes exactly used to be one but some even have multiple jobs at the same
00:33:43time things they're doing I've got this and then i've got my gig on the side if you will but how are you earning your benefits We need to modernize that so that floatable with you they're portable and they're also you can earn maybe partial benefits in different jobs
00:33:59and that becomes more normal uh we also have to help displaced workers were displacing workers fast we have a flexible workforce but then we owe those people something greater than trade adjustment assistance which is what we offer the people who are displaced by trade But but technology is
00:34:21just placing as any jobs is not more assistance Exactly And at the thesis that we put forward is one that really we have a lot of faith in business leaders being much clear about what is that there need in the workforce And the second is local state and
00:34:41local leadership coming together business leadership with government leaders him with the educational institutions k twelve all the way through universities especially including the community colleges to be part of the solution What you're finding in certain states laws have to be changed to create the flexibility So if i
00:35:01want to be on a certain pathway where let's say i go k through fourteen and i need to be work ready i cannot afford to be in school longer and i may want to earn my b a later but i need to be employable i want to be
00:35:17a start taking courses in high school that maybe are offered the community college you need to be able to change laws that allow for that so you see states like delaware colorado or south carolina that have done this and it creates greater opportunity for folks that the idea
00:35:33coding like this is something that gets caught on the silicon valley all the time i don't think it's it's sort of a dumbed down version of something important you sort of hear them saying it's like is that really what you want Tio how do you want a position
00:35:44and that it should be like learning english or something like that I don't know i'm not i was a big push by the obama administration for sure right I think said um i'm not going argue against coding i think you have to understand and i don't know what
00:35:59the right course offerings are to say how do i understand what is coding What is artificial intelligence How do i work a side by side with machines Because we're all work with machines we all work with some sort of either ipad or or phone or computer everything is
00:36:22technology today every job on dh so we have to learn we have to be trained so that we can do that proficiently and not be somebody who is constantly saying help help i can't get this done right when we're talking about this ideas you have machines skills in
00:36:40u s leadership i want to get to u s leadership in a in a second around lots of topics but what are the picture on your on this front is of a machine replacing things one of the things i just talk about a recent podcast was this idea
00:36:53of sometimes machine should replace jobs because they do it better coal mining is dangerous for people machines should probably do the work robo bots of some sort there's all kinds of jobs where machines do a better job they're cheaper they maybe there should we when you think about
00:37:08when you say machines what do you mean by that The work ahead because there they are going to replace right but there are all kinds of machines there are there's robotics that may replace somebody who's doing trying to lift something that's too heavy or move materials but then
00:37:25there's machines like drones mean drones could for example if you think about inspections of telecommunication towers or when turbines or things like that it's dangerous to send it in and try to do it and so what But they need pilots so it's not like this is something that
00:37:43could be purely machine run the machines on the manufacturing floor need people to monitor and manage and adjust as products change and so what we have to learn is to be able to work side by side with machines and then when you're talking the skills people need talk
00:38:03about that was what you've identified so the skills it's everything from we have a a significant part of our population that's just not even job ready no so basic soft skills Yes i hate the word soft because these air fundamental skills that we take for granted in many
00:38:20instances that children are learning but in many cases there's not been someone to model the basic workplace skills How do i show up on time How do i address folks How do i resolve conflict at work How doe i ah engage in a dialogue around a new idea
00:38:41the's air skills that need to be learned And how do i do it in a way where i don't get defensive where i where i feel that i can be collaborative and that's a set of skills as much as it is learning how to run a a smart
00:38:56grid right order is to learn to be a plumber or it is to learn to run a carpet manufacturing machine but one of the things you have to do realize is a lot of these skills are technical they have they have absolutely because and the stuff that can
00:39:12be what i was saying this is some of the other night which is they were worried about their kids and i said just think you're a smart person everything that can be digitized will be digitized just that's it period cars will be digitized we will have self driving
00:39:24cars so what does that let's just assume that's happening and it's not going to stop right What does that mean for malls for insurance companies for like start to really it array around the entire because we're going to a massive change yeah i don't know what it means
00:39:37for employment right I'm optimist we seem to have figured out employment throughout history so i think we'll figure that part out and i'm a believer in jobs jobs import for someone not the idea i think there's going to be jobs and i think it's good we're gonna work
00:39:53twenty hours a week well that may or may not be true i don't know if that's going to be the case i mean i don't necessarily believe that's the case because we seem to be able to get a rate jobs and all i know is that we seem
00:40:07to need more people we've been low unemployment also and dissatisfaction with the bureau is that yes and those are technical skills way need more people with more technical schools but we need to also make it easier for someone who is a different stages of their life gaining those
00:40:27technical skills right We don't stop learning right absolutely so when we get back i want talking more about the leadership parts of it because one of the things that's happened around immigration around the idea of this country is founded on immigration and such nadella is an immigrant for
00:40:41example with microsoft on sergey brin is an immigrant you must isn't it You can go down oh all i'm just using the tech people forty percent of the ceos of the fortune five hundred or either immigrants themselves or children of interim of this exactly and so i won't
00:40:54talk about that leadership what it's going to require as this transitions made because we one thing i do fear is that the fresh ideas of what we're going to do about it if you believe as i do say that you're going to work twenty hours a week what
00:41:05do we do about that Who makes money What about universal basic income lots of different ideas that are being bandied about One talk about that and more with penny pritzker she was the former u s commerce secretary and she's she's been working a book with the council of
00:41:17foreign relations she's let a port with john angler called the work ahead machine skills and u s leadership in the twenty first century big news box media has an exciting new project they're working on with netflix here's joe poster and claire gordon to tell you all about it
00:41:31hi rico decode box just launched a new show on netflix it's called explained and you can find it on netflix or right now it's for people like you people who are curious about the world around them and here's our promise if you give us fifteen minutes of your
00:41:46time or sometimes twenty years sometimes we couldn't stick to the fifty minute limits of fifteen to twenty minutes of your time will take you from being just curious about a big important topic to actually understanding it Our first few episodes explore things like why is monogamy so important
00:42:03around the world What happens when we can actually edit our dna and take control of our own evolution Why is the racial wealth gap in america still growing You'll see it's fox to its core it's a bigger and more ambitious yes but still looking and feeling and sounding
00:42:20like us and we'll hopefully give you the context in reporting and research that actually makes these super super satisfying I think the most satisfying videos we've ever made so go to netflix and check it out you can search for you can search for a box or you just
00:42:36goto netflix dot com slash explained we're here with penny pritzker is she has are you penned it Did you penned this book the work ahead way organ I'm t z do i write and i yes it was a collaborative process of twenty experts And so you brought them
00:42:55together to give me example of an expert like for such as Well we had the head of lumina foundation We had folks from mckinsey We had john angler former governor we have jack markell former governor right We had business leaders from different parts of the country So it
00:43:18was a really eclectic group of people and your recommendations here Actually it's one and ranked in the link between education and work overhaul transition assistance for workers Yeah you know you're giving basically it by a vice book essentially the way we thought about it is various topper to
00:43:35that's a big one to provide ah a menu of options options at the federal level options for state and local leaders Options for business leaders what to do options for nonprofits Because i'm a do person I'm right that this is what you can do Yeah here's what you
00:43:52can do here's what Here and here are examples of programs that are working and so there's a there's a lot of evaluation in there um and i think it's a very useful ah ah offering for for example what i kept in mind was think about the fact we're
00:44:12going to thirty one new governors next year If you're governor how could you pull the levers in your state to make it You're the people living in your state more competitive and s o this's you know our audience we have a federal audience as well I'm just not
00:44:30sure much will happen There were yeah i don't know but that's a talk about leadership i mean immigration take that is the thing This has been a incredibly hostile administration the immigrants well i i don't get the policy i really don't underst stand at first of all we're
00:44:44a country of immigrants i'm you know the great great fear and racism but go ahead you know i i'm the great granddaughter of an immigrant and i we went back tio ukraine which is where my family came from and i went to the seventy fifth anniversary of bobby
00:45:00are where the thirty two thousand jews were killed and frankly i wouldn't be alive today if my great grandfather have not immigrated So you know and and we have benefited from immigration we've benefited not just economically but as the mosaic that is our country has benefited from all
00:45:21kinds of thinking so why do you think there's so much fear around And i just went to see a tremendous thing that laurean jobs actually back the emerson collective the the carny arena about ah people moving across the border the border the issues around mexico you're saying strengthening
00:45:37mexico would be the best thing we could dio absolutely sure then there's jobs in mexico the truth is were the immigration from mexico illegal immigration from mexico is very low you know we we followed this caravan of folks trying to come to the united states through mexico it
00:45:55was twelve hundred people and frankly they were coming from south of the mexican border you know a strong mexico and vibrant economic mexico is good for the united states but restoration immigration this ideal house become demonized Well i think that i think it's related to the topic that
00:46:14we were talking about before which is the angst americans are feeling about their jobs and their opportunity they don't know what to do but they're like ok i don't have it maybe somebody else does and so i think there's a fear of the author that's been stoked which
00:46:29is just the opposite of what the values have been of the united states of america and i think that our immigration policy we tried to get comprehensive immigration reform done in the obama administration it was a huge priority and we would have benefited so much because we do
00:46:49this extraordinary no if you're a refugee or you're someone trying to come to the united states you go through five seven years of a process you go through so much review it's unbelievable what we're not allowing is think of thiss today fifty percent of the people are getting
00:47:07a master's or a phd in stem fields today are people from outside the united states educated in our schools right And we're asking them to leave right want to stay yeah so that's crazy it is crazy if he brings it back to removes innovation one of these recommendations
00:47:24keep it here in this keep the innovation here and and you know if you're any immigrant you have to be entrepreneurial and innovative because how the heck did you get here Right We don't make it easy it's very hard and you have to have resiliency and you have
00:47:39to have stick to itiveness and i'm not saying immigrants are more resilient but what i will say is is that immigrants do form new companies at agree higher rate than americans do and and the other problem that i saw firsthand as secretary of commerce is we have american
00:47:58businesses that are putting jobs today in canada and other parts of the world because it can't get the talent here right and they just please they would beg me please let us get these people in so that they can do their work here and they can buy our
00:48:12products here and they could be part of our communities and that can you know strengthen our economy But i think there's a lot of people feel ok that's great except it's not helping me and i think that that's partisan what is it that are right at the success
00:48:27of these messages against immigration I'm sorry what is this Why why were they sinking in Why are these feelings Was it just plain old fear of what's coming I think it's fear and angst and i think it's a question of people feeling that they don't have opportunity and
00:48:42they can't Find their way to economic opportunity we have this growing divide in our country in terms of opportunity and that's that is undermining the promise of the united states and we must address that we can't just address the opportunities at the top of the food chain right
00:49:02We've got to make sure that every american has the opportunity at the american dream and that's why i say we've got the programs that are can offer it make it easier for someone who's in middle school and high school to get skills so that they can be employable
00:49:19i'm not saying that they shouldn't ultimately pursue more and more education i'm saying we have to recognize the flexibility that's needed in an individual's life What do you think of that it's some kind of idea that you don't need school more and more I have to say i
00:49:31personally thought i dismiss it is out of hand but as i have my kids get older i'm like did they really need to go to college I mean they're going to up the but why Like i start to question the concept of it like what is what is
00:49:44the actual career path for people And you know again my kids early for sure but you begin to question it's a big thing and so i'm really what you mark zuckerberg others who left college created stuff how do you look at that concept and when you talk about
00:49:58ongoing education that's different than i think we need all of the above in other words we need to offer pathways for someone who is not going to go to college and you maybe mark zuckerberg you're goingto or marty she'll date something and you want it or you may
00:50:13be somebody who wants to you know is going to do vocational work and which there are phenomenal vocational jobs with great income plumbers very well and i i went i went manufacturing advanced manufacturing place in in delaware where i met all kinds of young people who had gone
00:50:35through the high school system in delaware got his skills training were in manufacturing they owned a home they owned a car they were getting further education they had no debt and and we need to make all of that easier for the average american that's the fundamental thesis of
00:50:54the report and we offer up all kinds of examples of where that's happening i mean the concept of having to go to college that the thing you should do well there's a part of what we say is is that recruiting needs to be skills based and not degree
00:51:09based and that we understand if you get some skills are required through credentials maybe not through us and they made me through a particular program we need much greater transparency of the value of a credential what skills does that mean you have earned and one of the things
00:51:25we found over the last ten years is recruiters uh it's easier to recruit somebody and fill a job you get greater credit if you say i have found the person with a nun dir graduate degree in a funny way that's that's too easy it's much easier than trying
00:51:45to figure out do you have the requisite skills but you don't have a college degree to do the job in front of us but more and more companies are willing to put in the effort to render tran that's there they're well and also to understand really what are
00:51:58the skills going back to my my example i gave at the beginning of cory powell you know part of cory paus problem wasn't that he didn't have skills right he didn't know how to present his skills he didn't have the quote degrees that were need theoretically needed but
00:52:16ultimately if he could if he was able to gain a few more skills and also explain he had management skills he had supervisory skills he had technical skills he was able to be reemployed and improve his income now lastly i want to talk about the the the entire
00:52:34world is competing with this at this point yes so is there such a thing like you know there is this fight pitting the globalists and the populists or the nash it was for the tribalism it seems like you can't avoid the global arena but do we have to
00:52:49think of it that way Because you're talking about technical skills Leave the united states is aimed at the united states that same two policies for the united states is is there going to be such a thing going forward when you think about um i the idea of maintaining
00:53:03u s tech the reason you should nineteen u s technological leadership is one we invented it and two other countries don't have our values don't have the values that we have towards all kinds of things Giant china running the technology world is terrifying to me I mean think
00:53:17about human rights it's terrifying They can't they may not zero i feel like it has not been a priority No no So what among these things when you think about a global economy should we be thinking in terms of countries anymore or should we be Well i think
00:53:32we have to think in terms of countries because they're not going away right And but i do think what we have to do is think about global competitiveness for the average american on and this is what we're trying to address here is we need to help the average
00:53:46american be globally competitive because it's too easy today right move jobs around the world that's what i'm thinking and communication and transportation have made that just easier and easier and so we've got to acknowledge that and say we've got to help american stay on the cutting edge and
00:54:06it's not impossible to do this is not a heavy lift we've got have the will to do it and sustained effort and we have to commit to life long learning lifelong training right So if you were you know in charge again of these many things use overall support
00:54:23for work is critical how we work and not just how we treat our children and how we help mothers and parents deal with the workforce that's a whole another thing but the's things what do you think in the near term medium term and long term of the most
00:54:37critical elements and go like what pick one thing that's critical in the next five years Well i think that we need to adjust our education and workforce training system so that it's got greater flexibility thirty percent of americans graduate from college seventy percent don't we can't right off
00:54:57the seventy percent we've got to create that greater flexibility and the ability to be learning and earning at the same time i think that is an and that requires a mindset shift a policy shift a give me a policy can one policy and put in a place that
00:55:15would well it's it's how you run your educational funding so making a pell grant more flexible so that it supports all kinds of learning not just call you and so that would be one policy that should be bipartisan that we ought to be able to get done I
00:55:34think that continuing to frankly making the united states continuing to make the united states an attractive place to invest because companies have choices now all over the world right And so you can't just have a work force you also have to have rules and regulations and and and
00:55:55an attitude in an atmosphere that's welcoming to all peoples and that is something that i think it's absolutely critical this basis sort of a little bit of a circus around the headquarters the second headquarters thing that he's been doing jeff phases and it's kind of interesting i'm horrified
00:56:14and i'm fascinated by at the same time because it's sort of like a weird competition for his jobs but this stuff that the party do it is the company the cities understanding what they have and don't have in order to attract that particular thing whether they get benefits
00:56:27from it we'll see being there but e someone was talking about a state and i was like no they're anti gay they keep he won't locate there and there it was and they were like what do you know about that I'm like i'm telling you he will not
00:56:40locate i know this company i know this person and so it just zeroed them out and i was thinking those state legislatures or it idiots they're going to lose all this you know economic benefit it's been fascinating i part of the leadership team for chicago representing chicago in
00:56:55the race for h q rating you know but what it has been we will we're still in the race well as far as we know but we'll see in and your chicago's the best city so hopefully he will choose us but we've learned a kn enormous amount we
00:57:11did it in enormous amount of research about ourselves and comparative research that has helped us understand where were you know what makes us attractive and where we need to work and what's really cool is our private sector and our educational system have come together to say we're going
00:57:28to address the places that we assess we could do better and we're going to promote the things that we think we've got figured out already and that's very to me it's been thought a big learning a big learning what's the biggest plus of chicago chicago has a phenomenal
00:57:47talent great transportation it's affordable relative to many of the other cities and we've got i'm sorry good food and fabulous food fabulous entertainment ending basis it will be interesting i have a sense of well chicago probably wouldn't be an area you i'm just it was really interesting cause
00:58:05i was arguing with someone from a southern state and like you're never getting it it's never happening for you and it's really a disappointment that your legislators don't understand if you want you know and that is that's more important then jobs which was interesting to make like that
00:58:19was well if you're an investor like a jeff bezos or like we are you're not thinking about the next three years or five years you're thinking about fifteen twenty twenty five years and what you're thinking in generations and you're thinking is this a place that's committed to both
00:58:36the talent the the values and is it going to be the kind of place where people are going to want to live and what you're seeing as i talked about earlier you're seeing just enormous interests by people living in urban areas they're finding them vibrant and interesting and
00:58:53exciting and diverse and the workforce is becoming me much more diverse and people want to be in that kind of place that is got that kind of energy so finishing up when you think about it the most it's varies from city to city you know like for example
00:59:12san francisco's growing like crazy with tech but we're suffering from ah homelessness and crime and all kinds of things drug use on the streets and things like that So it's it's it's fascinating to watch both things happen at once but if you had to think the most important
00:59:29thing in this in this thing and i want shifted mystery really i want you to pick one what is the thing you're most worried about and the thing you're most hope about to finish up one of things i'm hopeful about what just finish start with worried because i'd
00:59:41like to end on hopeful okay Ok one of the things i'm most worried about is is that we won't make this a national cause that will just sort of let this go by piece meal and we won't really come together and recognize the solutions are local but that
00:59:57will really need to make this a culture change for america I think i'll pick one very specific thing i'm hopeful about is the focus that seems to be around apprenticeships in all kinds of jobs and the idea that we can help americans through both learning and earning at
01:00:15the same time learning learning i like that yeah i like that have you thought about running for public office now Well right now my brother's running for that's right I know that i'm going to ask about one pritzker in politics right now is enough i think you win
01:00:28i do think you'll be a great governor against the state of illinois is running against governor rauner All right ok Who's also friends So it's But you know i think your brother though right Oh more than voting for i'm all in for my brother but you've never thought
01:00:44about you because i think government is very important to this the right absolutely And i was just just watching that hearing with mark zuckerberg i was like that's enough These people cannot stay any longer that ones that don't understand technology or future the right questions to ask But
01:00:58you know i will say one thing carol we need as business leaders who are knowledgeable in technology we need to make it acceptable for people to leave our employees for a year to go into government hunter support folks i you know i as much blame the legislators as
01:01:14i do the staff for that hearing because frankly we need to help the staff people be better now better informed on and that's something that we fought really hard for during the obama administration trying to build those bridges and folks came from the silicon valley from seattle in
01:01:32other parts of the country to help us he did And they felt the same way i did it's an honor to serve your country but now they're not there to say you know they know they don't have a head of the science office that's an astonishing it's amazed
01:01:46when you have a report like this they don't have a head of science or technology or anything else it's just it's i don't know how this could happen you know at least it's delayed for a number of years for sure but that's my opinion of to save money
01:01:57well the white house took interest in this but we'll see what they do something we we call for a national commission on workforce and hopefully they will take action yeah we'll see all right well we'll see if that happens and you'll be you'll go back to the white
01:02:11house then you know i'm encouraging them to take this office is serious issue okay all right penny thank you so much of vacating you there apologize any thank you so much we're talking you and this report is called the work ahead machine skills and u s leadership in
01:02:26the twenty first century on bits by the council on foreign relations and it's the co chairs of john angler and penny pritzker thank you so much for coming thank you if you enjoy the interview as much as i did be short of described the show you can find
01:02:39more episodes of repo decode on apple podcast spotify or wherever you listen a podcast or just visit rico dot net slash podcast for more If you have a minute please leave a serve you on apple podcast Tell other people about this show This helps them discover great interviews
01:02:52just like this one Now that you're done with this you should check out our other podcast too embarrassed to ask and recode media with peter kafka you confined those shows wherever you found this one Thank you for listening to this episode of rico decode and thanks to our
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