JFF CEO Maria Flynn recently co-authored a piece in Fortune calling for the creation of a U.S. Department of Labor research and development (R&D) organization focused on the American worker.
The new agency would be modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which is responsible for numerous technological innovations, from stealth aircraft to the internet.
“An ARPA for the American worker could help chart a different kind of future for our workforce, creating breakthroughs that can unlock the fuller potential of America’s workers,” write Flynn and co-author Arati Prabhakar, a former director of DARPA and the current CEO of Actuate, a nonprofit that’s committed to designing and running R&D programs that create breakthrough solutions to critical problems facing society.
They point out that the country currently faces a challenge as daunting as the Cold War threats that led to the creation of DARPA: “Many millions of American workers are underemployed or unemployed, often for extended periods,” as a result of the pandemic-driven economic and health care crises. “It’s time to bring bold creativity and a new commitment to addressing this problem,” they add.