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How to prepare students for jobs that aren’t there

9 February 2017

A very interesting article from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania wonders if there is anything any U. S. president can do to transform the labor market back to where it was 30-40 years ago. (Ironically, Penn is the alma mater of President Trump, and three of his children. Although this legacy is promoted on Penn’s website, Politico reports that the relationship is awkward.)

The article reports on a conference addressing that question. The general answer was no. Some wow moments:

“Within 20 years, 47% of all jobs are at risk of being replaced by technology, according to an Oxford University study.”

“[T]here are larger forces at work, according to Art Bilger, founder and CEO of WorkingNation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that highlights the challenges facing U.S. employment. The main forces he named were technology, globalization, people’s increased longevity and an outdated educational system. He stated that one of the most significant issues facing our nation is the prospect of up to 40% structural unemployment — that is, long-lasting and caused by fundamental shifts in our economy.”

“Martin Scaglione, the president and CEO of the nonprofit Hope Street Group which accelerates solutions for social impact … asserted that apart from any particular industry, the one job skill that will be needed by every worker is the ability to reinvent themselves to keep up with a swiftly-changing job market.”

The solution, conference attendees said, could come from partnerships between local governments, NGOs, academic institutions and corporations.


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