CES 2024: Addressing inequitable access to quality tech jobs for 200 million Americans

Mayor David M. Sander joined WorkingNation at CES 2024 to share his thoughts on the impact of tech on the way we work and live

As technology changes the skills needed in the workforce, it’s critical that educators and employers are on the same page regarding creating equitable access to quality tech jobs, especially for people living outside the nation’s bigger cities, according to David M. Sander, Ph.D., the mayor of Rancho Cordova, California.

Sander – who is also president of the National League of Cities – explains that the NLC has partnered with the U.S. Department of Labor and Siemens Foundation on the Good Jobs, Great Cities initiative to ensure that quality jobs are available to everyone, regardless of where they live.

Sander sat down with me for an interview for WorkingNation Overheard from CES 2024 in Las Vegas to discuss the goals of the Good Jobs, Great Cities program.

“We have a real challenge with equity and opportunity with regard to a lot of tech jobs and particularly these evolving new sectors in our community and all across the country,” he tells me. “When I talk to city leaders across the nation, they are really focused on that issue. We can’t allow a group of individuals who have historically been left behind to just continually be left behind.”

Sander describes his own city of Rancho Cordova as “jobs-rich and tech-focused,” but notes, “We have a lot of residents there who are underserved with respect to education and opportunity. Our challenge is to figure out how we create opportunities for them in this enormous job center that we’ve got.”

NLC describes itself as “the voice of cities, towns, and villages, representing more than 200 million people.”

The Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy includes 16 cities working throughout 2024 to develop innovative and scalable city-supported solutions that upskill and reskill workers into high-demand, quality jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing jobs.

“So many programs and so much focus is placed on just the largest cities. And the reality is, as we all know, not very many Americans live in the largest cities. The vast majority of us live elsewhere in rural communities and in small communities and in suburbs,” says Sander.

“We chose those participating cities that represent all of those sectors sort of proportionally, as opposed to just focusing on cities that might have the most resources to begin with.

“We believe in cities. We believe in experimentation in the sense that you try something new, you look and measure the results to be sure you know what you’re doing, and then you iterate, you find new ways to improve, and you repeat the cycle.

“Good Jobs, Great Cities is on its way to making a very big impact in the United States on helping cities, working hand-in-hand with them, finding new pathways for residents to access these great jobs.”

Learn more about the City of Rancho Cordova.
Learn more about the National League of Cities.
Learn more about CES 2024.

Funding for WorkingNation Overheard at CES 2024 was provided, in part, by Walmart.