Future Series #3: The Future of Work
Author: Jon Clifton, Debra Lyons, and Shane McFeely, Ph.D.

Technological advancements will lead not only to more automation across various industries, but to the creation of new fields with corresponding new job functions. Factor in a demographically older and more diverse talent pool, plus an increasing shift away from traditional employment toward the gig economy, and it is easy to see a vastly different future of work. Economic developers must begin now to understand and plan for the future needs of workers and employers and help set their community on the path to a successful tomorrow.

Key takeaways from this webinar:

  • The impact of automation on work – what the data tells us and how EDOs can respond
  • Building more responsive training programs that help workers and businesses
  • How the gig economy is changing, and will continue to change, our relationship with employers

Original Air Date: October 25, 2018



Jon Clifton

Global Managing Partner


Washington, DC

Jon Clifton is the Global Managing Partner of Gallup, an advisory firm that specializes in big data analytics of employees, customers, students and citizens. Jon’s mission is to help 7 billion citizens be heard on their most pressing work and life issues through the Gallup World Poll, a 100-year initiative spanning 150 countries. Jon is a nonresident Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He serves on the board of the Meridian International Center, StreetWise Partners and Findyr. He is a member of Gallup’s Public Release Committee, the governance board that oversees and maintains Gallup’s public release standards for data, research and methodology. Because of his expertise, Jon has been interviewed on BBC News, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and AlJazeera, and has testified in front of the U.S. Congress on the state of American small business and entrepreneurship. He is a frequent contributor on Gallup.com and has written for The Hill, The Diplomatic Courier, and The Global Action Report. Jon received a bachelor’s degree in political science and history from the University of Michigan and a juris doctorate in international law from the University of Nebraska.


Debra Lyons 


Lyons Consulting

Macon, GA

Debra Lyons is a Principal at Lyons Consulting specializing in workforce development strategies designed to help communities improve their economic development advantage. Lyons has over 30 years of expertise in education and workforce development. Most recently she served as Director and Principal Strategist - Employer Engagement for ACT, Inc. While there she utilized her experience in leading workforce development initiatives aligned to the needs of industry and economic development. She organized, recruited and served as Executive Director to the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board, an organization of c-level business leaders who provide guidance to ACT on Work Ready Communities and engaging employers in adopting its workforce solutions. She served as Vice President of Community and Economic Development for ACT for the Workforce Development Division until its consolidation. In this position, she led a national effort to provide community-based workforce solutions to states, regions and counties to drive economic growth and greater productivity. She was the chief architect for ACT Work Ready Communities, a data driven approach designed to link education and workforce development aligned to economic development. She oversaw the initiative until 2016 where, under her leadership, it had taken root in twenty-four states and hundreds of counties. ACT Work Ready Communities was the recipient of the International Economic Development Council’s Human Capital Award – Populations greater than 500,000 in October 2014.

Prior to ACT, Lyons was the first executive director for the Governor’s Office of Workforce Development in Georgia from 2006 to 2011. She developed and launched the Georgia Work Ready effort a one of a kind employer and data driven workforce development effort that was part of the implementation of Governor Perdue’s successful blueprint, A Commission for a New Georgia. Georgia Work Ready was the recipient of the Governor’s Award for Customer Service – 2008 Team Excellence, the Technology Association of Georgia’s Excalibur Award, 2008, the Georgia Bio Community Award, 2009 and the ACT Community Award, 2009. She has also served as an associate professor in engineering technology, industry training consultant and design engineer.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. Lyons currently resides in Macon Georgia with her husband, Dr. Anthony V. Lyons.

Shane McFeely, Ph.D.
Workplace Researcher

Washington, DC

Shane McFeely has his Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and has previously worked as an administrator in the Omaha Public Schools district in their Research Division. Today, as a Researcher on Gallup's Global Practice team, Dr. McFeely works across multiple different subject matters related to workplace effectiveness, employee experience, K12 education, and the future of work. In this role, he conducts qualitative and quantitative analyses to create new insights for workplace leaders. Dr. McFeely and the Global Practice team conduct research on a wide range of human capital management topics that cover the full span of the employee lifecycle including attraction and recruitment, selection, onboarding, employee engagement, learning and development, performance management and development, as well as employee exit. He also has expertise special topics including, but not limited to - the gig economy and alternative work arrangements, program and learning evaluation, data visualization, as well as K12 education. Simply put – Dr. McFeely’s role is to generate new insights every day that challenge the way organizational leaders manage their teams and, ultimately, improve workplace cultures.


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