Don’t Fear the Robots, and Other Lessons From a Study of the Digital Economy

There are a handful of nonprofit job-training programs with proven track records, including Year Up, Per Scholas, Project Quest and JVS. The M.I.T. group suggests making federal grants available to such noncollege training and job programs.

But those nonprofit ventures are still small, reaching tens of thousands a year in total. By contrast, the nation’s 1,100 community colleges serve millions of students. The report calls them “the linchpin to America’s training ecosystem,” and recommends increasing government funding, with support linked to adopting best practices and placing students in good-paying jobs.

The report calls for raising the minimum wage, broadening unemployment insurance and modifying labor laws to enable collective bargaining in occupations like domestic and home-care workers and freelance workers. Such representation, the report notes, could come from traditional unions or worker advocacy groups like the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jobs With Justice and the Freelancers Union.

The M.I.T. researchers also recommend changes to tax laws that favor corporate spending on machines rather than workers.

Changing the tax code and labor laws is among the most politically controversial recommendations in the report. But the politics are not always predictable and may be changing, said David Rolf, founding president of Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union and a leader of the Fight for Fifteen campaign, the effort to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

President Trump comfortably won Florida in this month’s election, but more than 60 percent of Florida voters approved a state constitutional amendment lifting the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2026, from its current level of $8.56.

Mr. Rolf, a member of the advisory board, said the report “pointed to the need for a different economic and legal framework.” And, he added, “that’s an important signal, coming from M.I.T.”