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On Tuesday, September 22 Axios' Erica Pandey hosted an event on how cities are building stronger, more efficient operations to support an increasingly digital economy, featuring Dunkin' Brands CFO Kate Jaspon and FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Kate Jaspon discussed trends in Dunkin' Brands' customer digital transactions and how they're promoting their brand across younger social media platforms like TikTok.

  • How coronavirus has accelerated the move towards a contactless food experience: "We're seeing a lot of guests shift away from cash and actually move to these contactless payments."
  • On the company’s successful partnership with TikTok star Charli D’Amelio: "We've seen a significant number of app downloads and perk memberships come from her demographic and her following, as well as an increase in our cold brew sales since we launched."

Jessica Rosenworcel unpacked the future of smart cities, how new technology can be better integrated into public spaces, and the need for the federal government to better collaborate with city mayors.

  • On cities being able to predict things like fires, safety hazards: "Wouldn’t it be fantastic if we knew those kinds of things well in advance, if we had a predictive ability that exceeds what we have today because we are looking at patterns at a scale that previously we haven’t been able to do? I think that those things are real and they are not so in the far-off future."
  • On partnerships between the federal and local governments: "We've got to figure out how to be partners with mayors and town councils...I think right now they see federal authorities as someone who wants to take their power away and prevent them from having a say and where communications infrastructure goes on their streets in their backyards."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with Visa Chief Product Officer Jack Forestell who discussed changes in digital commerce and what this means for the economy.

  • On digital shopping experiences being the new norm for small businesses: "What we have seen with the pandemic is a sharp uptick in digital commerce...But what we're seeing now is that the new set of digital commerce behaviors is really sticking. The implication is that small businesses, Main Street businesses, really need to get digital."

Thank you Visa for sponsoring this event.

Go deeper

Jan 29, 2020 - Technology

The battle over 5G deployment in America's cities

The fate of the national race to build 5G wireless service depends on how effectively the guts of the network — namely, hundreds of thousands of bulky antennas — are placed in cities.

Why it matters: While global tensions mount over pressure to build 5G networks as fast as possible, U.S. cities are in a fight of their own with telecom carriers and federal regulators over how new 5G antennas — or small cells — will be scattered throughout downtowns and neighborhoods.

Small business matters

This channel features content produced by the Axios Brand Studio and Google.

Welcome to this Axios-style Smart Brevity recap of conversations from Google’s Small Business Matters: The Digital Safety Net Expert’s Voice Live event.

Updated Dec 23, 2020 - Axios Events

Reskilling America: The path for post-pandemic job recovery

Learning new skills will be essential for many Americans who lost jobs as a result of COVID-19, since many of the jobs will not be returning. But not everyone can reskill the traditional way.

Why it’s important: To thrive in a rapidly changing job market, American workers will have to rethink their approach to skills and work.

As one expert at Google’s Powering Economic Opportunity: New Pathways to Job Recovery event put it: Job seekers must now be life-long learners.

At the event, policy makers, local government, nonprofit leaders and other experts talked about how they can pool resources and work together to better prepare American workers for today’s job market.

Their top three solutions:

  • Expand access to free or nearly free digital tools and training, like Grow with Google’s free digital training and resources.
  • Develop online courses and certificates — like Google Career Certificates — and a way to scale these offerings to communities that need it most to train a more equitable workforce
  • Encourage life-long learning and make reskilling resources more accessible to people.

According to Grow with Google VP Lisa Gevelber, “For years, Google has supported digital skilling programs and created pathways to help people secure good-paying jobs. Accessible job-training solutions will help people get hired into jobs that will be most relevant in the post-pandemic economy."

What this means: Companies are developing digital tools and programs that help people better understand the digital world, job skills training, and career certificates that job seekers can use to pursue in-demand, better-wage careers.

Oftentimes, these companies partner with governments, nonprofits and higher education institutions to help bridge the gap.

  • One example: Grow with Google offers digital tools and training to people looking to start new jobs or careers.

    Google’s online Career Certificates prepare people with no experience for jobs in high-growth, high-paying fields including IT Support, User Experience (UX) Design, and Data Analytics in 3-6 months with no degree required.

Key numbers: “We have over 400,000 people enrolled in these programs already, and a hundred employers across America who are hiring the certificate graduates. Top companies in retail, entertainment and finance, and, of course, Google,” Gevelber said.

Even more, Grow with Google has partnered with Jobs for the Future (JFF) to help bring these career certificates to over a hundred community colleges around the U.S.

The impact: Students across Illinois and Alabama “really see their job prospects increase after completing a certificate,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs of the Future.

  • One Ohio student who listed her certificate credentials online has received five times more searches per week and several interview invitations.

When asked how local governments can get involved, Flynn suggested “expanding access to high-quality, short-term credentials like the Google certificate.” This helps meet the urgent need to reskill workers as well as the longer-term needs for creating better quality jobs.”

The takeaway: Making certificates, and other alternative career pathways, more accessible opens up a world where it’s easier for people to reskill for a new career – or a lifetime.

What Google is saying:

“What we are seeing on a positive note is how resilient Americans are, and we're seeing them put technology to work.”

– Lisa Gevelber, Vice President, Grow with Google

Learn more.