Everywhere you look, there’s an article about preparing students for the future.
Read those articles carefully: They almost never specify what time in the future they’re talking about.
The timing is important.
Laura Arnold, the associate commissioner of Kentucky’s Department of Education who is cited in a recent article in Education Week, hinted at why it’s important to know how far into the future someone is thinking:
In helping turn Kentucky into a national leader in career-and-technical education, Arnold has used data about local labor-market trends to guide decisions about what workforce-development programs schools should offer.
But it’s hard work: Employers tend to be focused on their immediate needs. Schools have a hard time developing courses around medium-term opportunities, like robot maintenance. And the long term is just so uncertain.
“We don’t have reliable data on jobs 20 years out,” Arnold said. “The best we can do is create strong career pathways and hope they evolve.”
Resources for seeing into the future
Here are a few articles that educators and community leaders may find useful in preparing for themselves and their students for the workplace of 2017 and beyond:
Could a robot do your job? This 2014 story in USA Today looked at the likelihood of jobs being replaced by robots. Their conclusion of was that half of all jobs—and 70% of low-skill jobs—may be replaced by robots or other technology by the decade between 2024 and 2034.
That means half the jobs available for the students who entered kindergarten in 2012 will be gone by time they graduate.
Can a robot do your job? This 2015 article by John C. Goodman in Forbes dips into three books that discuss the future from technological, economic and sociological perspectives. The quotes Goodman selects should scare you.
From janitors to surgeons, virtually no jobs will be immune to the impact of robots in the future. Whether someone retains a job will depend on whether their skills “are a complement to the computer or a substitute for it. ”
Will a robot take my job? (2017) Plug in your job title and learn the likelihood your job will be done by a robot. The predictions are take a long-term vision of the future, looking ahead to thirty, forty or fifty years from now.
©2017 Linda Aragoni