Cantwell Presses Biden Administration Official on Need for AI Job Training

At AI forum in Seattle last month, Cantwell called for training 1 million workers for the AI jobs of the future

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Yesterday, at a Senate hearing about recent advances in artificial intelligence, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) highlighted the importance of job training to maintain U.S. competitiveness in AI and ensure that American workers are skilled in AI technologies.

“The United States cannot slow down on AI as it relates to our competitiveness internationally and for national security reasons,” Sen. Cantwell said at the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources hearing.

She then posed a question to the panel of witnesses: “What do we need to do to help build a workforce, particularly, in skilling the workforce for AI?"

David Turk, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, responded:

“We all need to focus on the workforce, and I know I've talked to a number of folks, they want to work on AI, and they also want to work in private sectors. Great. And we need talent in the private sector. But they also want to work in the government and take on some of these public challenges as well. We just need to make it attractive to them in all sorts of ways so that we can compete.”

Dr. Rick L. Stevens, Associate Laboratory Director - Computing, Environment and Life Sciences (CELS), Argonne National Laboratory, added:

“We need a coordinated national strategy to build an A.I. workforce and we need some leadership to organize that.”

Sen. Cantwell’s AI forum, held in Seattle last month, included regional AI industry leaders, representatives from the University of Washington, Washington State University, Allen Institute for AI, and the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO. At the forum, the panel discussed how policy leaders can help foster innovation while ensuring that AI is deployed safely and equitably.

Video of Sen. Cantwell’s exchanges with witnesses during today’s hearing is available HERE; audio HERE; and a transcript HERE.

Video of Sen. Cantwell’s remarks on AI and the workforce from the Seattle AI forum is available HERE; video of Sen. Cantwell’s remarks on AI and American competitiveness from today’s hearing are available HERE and HERE; video of Dr. Stevens and Deputy Sec. Turk’s responses on AI and the workforce are available HERE and HERE.