During the U.S. Department of Labor Tech Day event, reimagining what it takes to develop a workforce focused on IT and reskilling the current workforce were heavily emphasized in topics of discussion.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta spoke highly of the updates made to the Mine Safety and Health Administration by changing its note-taking and citation process from lugging around notebooks and cameras before going back to the office to input the information, to tablets that have allowed for a more streamlined process.

“You have to carry less items. You can enter the information right here. You don’t spend time typing. You can take the pictures right here. This saved thousands and thousands of hours,” Sec. Acosta said while demonstrating the tablet. “This means that, you know, inspectors are not hired to transcribe from a notepad to a computer system; inspectors are hired to inspect.”

Acosta also talked about the current unemployment rate – which was 3.6 percent in the month of April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics – and argued that technology and automation aren’t going to increase that percentage, but as he said, “create jobs and it makes for better lives.”

Acosta also made mention of the advancements in technology allowing more people with disabilities to gain employment when they otherwise would not be able to physically go to work. He mentioned that technology can empower more individuals to work in a fully integrated workplace and that the Labor Department is working with businesses to assist in making them aware of individuals that could be working thanks to technology, are working.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.