150 Million New Technology-Oriented Jobs and the Skills Needed to Get Them

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Libraries and communities need to act now to ensure those hit by job losses direct their energies into promising career paths and develop the skills they need to gain employment. Over the last two decades, a persistent digital divide challenged many job seekers from gaining skills, and a steady decline in employer-supported training has challenged even those in the workforce to keep up and advance their careers. COVID-19 added fuel to the fire, setting off job losses exceeding the scale of the Great Recession, with the biggest brunt borne by people with disabilities, people of color, women, younger workers, and those with less formal education. COVID-19 has also accelerated digital transformation, threatening manual jobs and portending a jobs recovery that requires an increasing focus on digital skills.

This on-demand webinar presents the problem we are faced with solving along with steps to solve it. Using labor market data and skills insight from dozens of countries, presenters identify ten jobs that are well positioned to continue to grow in the future. Hear about time-limited resources to integrate into the library’s programming and communications, such as free learning paths and LinkedIn Learning classes, GitHub Learning Lab tools, and low-cost Microsoft Certifications. Also learn how public libraries are ramping up workforce development and skilling initiatives to meet these new challenges well into the future, including examples from the Kenton County (KY) Public Library and what the Washington State Library has learned over five years of implementing its workforce development programming.

Originally presented November 5, 2020.

This on-demand webinar is made possible by Microsoft as part of PLA’s digital skilling initiatives.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this on-demand webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate how multiple converging factors have changed the labor market and the type of skills needed to succeed in the workforce;
  • Identify ten jobs that are in-demand today and well positioned to continue to grow in the future; and
  • Access free and low-cost virtual learning pathways, online courses, and certifications to prepare job seekers for in-demand careers.

Additional Resources

Who Should Attend

All public library staff, particularly library directors and adult program staff; community agency partners involved in digital skilling and/or employment support; job seekers. This on-demand webinar is intended for individuals with little or some knowledge of the topic but will also provide new information to those with expertise.


Greg BianchiGreg Bianchi is senior project manager at Microsoft Philanthropies, where he manages nonprofit partner relationships and develops programs and resources for skilling and employability. Prior to that, he was project consultant for K–12 computer science with Washington STEM, a statewide nonprofit that seeks smart, scalable solutions that lead to opportunities for those students most underserved and underrepresented in STEM fields. At Washington STEM, he led the Washington State review of K–12 Computer Science Framework and CSTA Standards, co-led the adoption process for Washington State Computer Science Standards, and provided consulting to districts looking to launch equity-oriented K–12 CS initiatives. He has his Bachelor’s in Business Administration from the University of Washington and his EdD from Seattle Pacific University.

Natalie RuppertNatalie Ruppert is the workforce development manager for the Kenton County Public Library in Erlanger, KY, ranked the number one library system in the state since 2013. Natalie also served as a reference librarian and circulation manager for the system. She received the Margaret E. Willis Award for Community Service for helping patrons find jobs and explore careers from the Kentucky Public Library Association in 2014, and won the Northern Kentucky Workforce Investment Board Award for Community Collaboration in 2019. Natalie serves on the Northern Kentucky Career Center Employer Roundtable, Partners for Success in Northern Kentucky, the GROW NKY Workforce Initiative, and participates in the online LibsWork group. She worked in the paper and printing industries in the Boston area, before moving to the Cincinnati, OH metro area. After serving as president of several community boards, she decided to pursue a new role herself and received her MLIS from the University of Kentucky in 2005.

Elizabeth IaukeaAfter working in libraries since age twelve, Elizabeth Iaukea received her MLIS from Florida State University in 1999. Her first position as a “professional” librarian was at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as a public access computer trainer for the US Library Program. In the twenty years since, she has worked for the Washington State Library and for multiple public libraries in Western Washington. She's currently at the State Library as a workforce development librarian. The dominant theme across her career has been supporting library staff and their communities to gain and maintain the skills needed to remain relevant and competitive in their chosen fields, with a focus on digital skills. Outside of work she enjoys bicycling, reading, and gardening, and exploring the incredible splendor of Washington's natural landscapes.



This on-demand webinar is free and available 24/7 for your viewing convenience.

How to Register

No registration is required.

Tech Requirements

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Credits or CEUs

PLA does not award credit hours, CEUs, or certificates of attendance/completion/participation for its on-demand webinars and cannot verify participation.


Questions about this webinar? Please contact us at plawebinars@ala.org or 800-545-2433 ext. 5PLA (5752).