For Labor Days to Come

For Labor Days to Come

Survey Front 2 (1)It’s Labor Day weekend, a celebration of the workforce that drives the U.S. economy. And, as much as things have changed since it became a federal holiday in 1894, Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, Co- Founder of EdTechXGlobal predicts more is on the way, suggesting that 50% of current jobs won’t exist in 2025. Artificial intelligence and automation technologies will replace repetitive low-skill jobs, as well as routine medium-skilled work.

Ironically, only 2% of our education and training programs are digital. A blog post by Alice Atkinson-Bonasio quotes Vedrenne-Cloquet: “there will be a growing need to re-train the workforce in order to address current skill gaps and increase the use of continuous learning.”

Among the failures of our current system of K-12 education is an almost complete lack of innovation for more than a hundred years. It does not adequately prepare students for the jobs available to them in 2016, nor does it prepare them for a world in which they are likely to need significantly different skill sets at multiple points along their employment trajectory.

Digital models and programs could address this looming catastrophe. As noted in a previous post, the U.S. economy cannot handle the loss of an entire class of workers because they have been failed by the education system and their employers.

It’s imperative that business take an active role in training that cultivates life-long learning, allows employees to think creatively, and encourages more open curiosity. This is not a matter of philanthropy but self-preservation. Business cannot count on an adequately trained workforce from the education system and it’s clear that it does not trust the government to solve this problem. It will have to be addressed as part of business strategies.

Companies like Skylab Learning that have the background and experience to build programs that train employees to be both better at their current jobs and able to adapt, are few. In part, because getting companies to invest in their low paid workforce is next to impossible. Our challenge is not in the design of our educational and training programs – those work consistently well. The roadblock is getting companies – who are acutely aware of this gathering storm – to take responsibility.

If we can’t get our act together for the jobs coming down the pike, all our brilliant innovation will be for naught because we will have no ability to implement. Skylab is committed to helping the workforce continue to play a role in driving the U.S. economy and celebrating their achievements for many Labor Days to come.