Lifelong Learning: Reimagining the Workforce

Join us at Ovenly bakery in New York as we discuss the rising importance of corporate citizenship and lifelong learning. 

Robert Arning

Robert Arning

KPMG Foundation Chairman, KPMG US

+1 212-872-3202

Video transcript


Anant Agarwal: 
By the year 2030, one in two jobs will go away due to automation, technology, AI, and so on.

Rob Arning: When you put it that way, half the planet, that really…

Joie Chen: Yes, half the planet needs a new job.

Joie Chen:  So, we’ve come here to Ovenly. This is a bakery that is on a mission to educate and empower their employees. It’s a good example for all kinds of corporations.

Jeff Noel: If you’re a publicly traded company, our mission statement is to create demand and earn trust every day. If you’re not creating demand, you don’t help the economic environment by which you sell your products. So, it’s really all about a business proposition with integrity-driven pursuit of profit.

Rob Arning: Organizations have realized, “You know what, I can’t sit on the sidelines.” Business does a heck of a lot better when we’re doing good things in the community and we’re making a difference. You attract better people. They want to be around longer. It’s also the right thing to do and we should be doing it.

Anant Agarwal: Jobs are changing every decade. New skills are needed almost every day. I thought that the number one skill that they are looking for is computer science or data science. But the number one skill they are looking for is actually soft skills. Skills like critical thinking, communications – and rather than looking for new people, why don’t you upskill your workforces?

Kelly Watson: One of the things that we are trying to do is cross-train people, to give them the opportunity to work in an area that they haven’t done before. See if they like it. See if this is a skill they want to learn.

Joie Chen: They are taking control of their own futures.

Kelly Watson: Right, they are empowering themselves.

Jeff Noel: We had an employee who started a very successful business because of the learnings that he had inside of our company. Today, he employs a lot of people and we benefit because our community is better.

Anant Agarwal: It is incumbent upon corporations to get involved. The people are learning the new skills that will help them in newer jobs. With our Micro-Masters program, we begin working with corporations where their employees sign up for programs in cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. These new credentials on their resume, and it gives them that signaling mechanism for life-long learning.

Kelly Watson: This generation is really hungry for different ways of learning and I think that is where corporate responsibility fits into this whole idea of how we get them engaged and passionate around their work and continuing to want to move forward. So, we started programs like our KPMG "Family for Literacy" program.  

Rob Arning: Which gives out books to Title One schools. It’s become a topic in the boardroom by investors and clients and our employees, they want to do business with and be associated with someone that’s making a bigger difference. 

Jeff Noel: Our workforce should reflect our consumer base because our customer needs to know that you have integrity and in order to do that you have to exhibit those behaviors every day in the marketplace, not just in the products you make, not just in how you treat your people, but how you treat society around you.

Rob Arning: Continually educate your workforce. Make it easy. Make it part of the culture. Seeing their career progress and being given the opportunity to have purpose and make a difference, it’s a winning formula for any organization.