Rural Communities and Independent Workers


How will rural communities adapt to a world of independent workers?

Today, two out of five U.S. workers self-identify as independent. At the same time, more than half of all Americans live in urban areas. And both percentages are growing rapidly. Independent workers, in theory, shouldn’t need to concentrate in crowded urban areas with high costs of living. “We need to reverse the trend of the Industrial Revolution,” Upwork CEO Stephane Kasriel said in a recent interview with Reinvent, “and allow the work to go where the worker is, rather than trying to cram more people into cities.” Many workers, Kasriel pointed out, would prefer to remain closes to their families, rather than flocking to expensive cities. The rise of independent worker, powered in large part by modern technology like video conferencing, should make a more even distribution of work across the United States feasible. But are rural communities up for the challenges posed by ever greater numbers of independent workers?

In this virtual roundtable, we’ll discuss the responsibility organizational leaders, policy-makers, and citizens have to support our country’s rural areas, and how communities can make themselves more attractive to employers. Our participants will address a number of questions, including: As our megacities continue to grow, what can we do to help maintain the quality of life that rural areas offer? What will rural communities do to maintain healthy economies, retain older workers, and encourage young workers to stay? How will rural communities provide high-quality education and lifelong learning opportunities? And how will rural workers effectively manage their range of work activities, from full-time to gig work, and everything in between?

Scheduled October 24, 2017 11:00 AM PDT

The Future of Work

In Partnership with