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Published by:
Harvard Business Publishing (2020)
22 May 2020
Revision date:
18 pages
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By the late 2000s, rapid changes in the telecommunications industry forced AT&T's management team to take on a task that CEO Randall Stephenson called the 'biggest logistical challenge' they had ever seen: retraining 100,000 workers by 2020. In 2012, internal company analyses found that AT&T's workforce would lack the skills it needed to fulfill emerging job requirements. AT&T responded by creating 'Workforce 2020', a company-wide initiative that sought to address potential skill shortfalls. The initiative aimed to transform AT&T's workforce by implementing multiple changes, such as redesigning job roles, developing new educational curricula with Udacity, and incentivizing employees to retrain themselves for high-demand careers. Some gave high praise to the 'Workforce 2020' model, going so far as to call it a new 'social contract' between employers and employees. Others worried that the new program was systematically disadvantaging specific groups of workers. In 2018, AT&T rebranded Workforce 2020 to 'Future Ready', signaling the company's commitment to retraining its workforce beyond 2020.


Employee training; Labor unions; Layoffs; Learning; Management skills; Operations; Strategic planning; Strategy; Talent management; Technological change; Technology adoption lifecycle; Workforce management
> 1 billion; Fortune 500
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