Volume 1, Issue 7 | November 2020
Progress Inside the Project
Instructional Cards Provide Roadmap to
43 Cross-Disciplinary Skills
Madeline Patton, Ed.M.
Instructional cards on 43 crosscutting knowledge and skills—that experts advising the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work project consider essential for STEM technicians to learn in the next decade—are almost ready for prime time.

With guidance from industry representatives and community college educators, project leaders identified these three broad skill areas as cross-disciplinary and essential for STEM technicians:
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • Agricultural & Environmental
  • Biological & Chemical
  • Data Science
  • Engineering
  • Information & Security
  • Micro & Nanotechnologies
Education Impact
Considering the Role of Higher Education in Building the Next-Generation Workforce
Todd McLees, Founder, Pendio Group
Over the past 100 years, significant shifts have occurred in the way organizations build value.
In 1920, the world’s most valuable companies were primarily a result of extracting value from natural resources, such as oil and steel. By 1970, a shift had occurred to companies building value from the scalable production of human-made assets. These were companies like IBM, AT&T, Kodak, and General Motors.
For today’s largest companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet (Google), the vast majority of assets are intangible, digital assets.

In 2020, instead of increasing value by accumulating physical assets, leading companies create value by encouraging lifelong learning and adaptability. Today’s most valuable companies focus on successfully building a culture of innovation and scalable learning to increase organizational capacity. In the end, improved organizational capacity is what digital transformation is all about.

In previous eras, during the second and third industrial revolutions, industry players partnered with higher education to develop the workforce they needed. While that is seemingly no longer the case, we need to reexamine that opportunity.
Industry Connection
Increase Your Employer Engagement -
New NSF Project Accepting Applications
Business & Industry Leadership Team (BILT) Academy
Cohort 1 Applications Due Nov. 23
Pathways to Innovation is an initiative designed to help community and technical colleges strengthen their employer engagement efforts. This new project led by CORD with funding from the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program builds on the ATE-supported Business Industry Leadership Team (BILT) model, a proven method for strategic employer engagement developed by the National Convergence Technology Center. The project will help colleges cultivate employer partnerships that foster continuous program improvement and innovation. 

A key component of the project will be the BILT Academy, a cohort-focused technical assistance program for colleges planning to implement a BILT. The Academy will coach teams of employers and faculty from STEM programs to keep pace with shifting workforce demands and evolving technologies. 

BILT Academy Cohort 1 Begins January 2021

Purpose/Format: The BILT Academy will provide professional development and technical assistance through one-on-one coaching designed to assist community and technical colleges in their efforts to build strategic and sustainable employer partnerships based on the BILT model.  

Eligibility: Teams from 8 community college STEM programs will be selected. 

Cost: No cost to the college 

How Participating Teams Will Benefit:

  • Online access to professional development modules, implementation tools and templates, planning timelines for BILT implementation, and an Academy community of practice for resource exchange. 
  • Monthly sessions with an experienced BILT coach to assist in all local implementation steps.
  • Direct assistance (face-to-face or virtual) from Dr. Ann Beheler, originator of the BILT model, in conducting a BILT meeting to prioritize the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) employers expect workforce-ready graduates to possess 12-36 months into the future. 

The BILT Academy application form is available on the Pathways to Innovation website. Applications are due November 23, 2020

Explore this unique technical assistance opportunity supporting employer engagement:

  • Watch the recording of the October 29th webinar
  • Download the BILT Academy application
  • Learn more about the BILT model
Featured Resources
The Future of Jobs Report 2020
World Economic Forum, October 2020

From the Executive Summary: “The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and related global recession of 2020 have created a highly uncertain outlook for the labour market and accelerated the arrival of the future of work. The Future of Jobs Report 2020 aims to shed light on: 1) the pandemic-related disruptions thus far in 2020, contextualized within a longer history of economic cycles, and 2) the expected outlook for technology adoption jobs and skills in the next five years. Despite the currently high degree of uncertainty, the report uses a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative intelligence to expand the knowledge base about the future of jobs and skills. It aggregates the views of business leaders—chief executives, chief strategy officers and chief human resources officers—on the frontlines of decision-making regarding human capital with the latest data from public and private sources to create a clearer picture of both the current situation and the future outlook for jobs and skills. The report also provides in-depth information for 15 industry sectors and 26 advanced and emerging countries.”
Resetting the Future of Work Agenda: Disruption and Renewal in a Post-COVID World
World Economic Forum, October 2020

From the Introduction: “This report, developed in collaboration with Mercer, brings together key insights and lessons from the COVID-19 crisis response of the World Economic Forum’s broader industry community to imagine and set out an updated future of work company action agenda for a post-COVID world. In particular, the report brings together the perspectives on COVID-19 workforce-related best practices of more than 60 chief human resources officers (CHROs) from leading global employers as well as a broad range of insights into how organizations are preparing for the post-pandemic shape of work from the Forum’s network of Preparing for the Future of Work Industry Accelerators, comprising more than 200 senior HR leaders, education technology and learning providers, academia and government stakeholders in nine industries.”
Items of Interest
Hiroshi Tasaka, World Economic Forum, October 23, 2020

“Mass unemployment will occur because of robotics and AI. Hospitality, management and creativity cannot be substituted by AI. We need to acquire and refine more sophisticated abilities in these areas. The COVID-19 crisis is going to accelerate a number of changes and transformations in human society. Notably, the pandemic is expected to significantly accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
McKinsey Global Institute, September 23, 2020

“Responses to a McKinsey global survey of 800 executives suggest a disruptive period of workplace changes lies ahead due to acceleration of automation, digitization, and other trends.”
Community College Research Center (CCRC)
Community College Research Center (CCRC), June 2019–November 2020

Hundreds of community colleges nationally are adopting guided pathways reforms, and CCRC is studying guided pathways implementation in well over 100 colleges. However, an important gap in the field’s understanding of guided pathways is the cost of implementing such large-scale reforms, which may involve hiring new advisors, upgrading websites, implementing new or improved student information systems, and providing extensive training and coordination of faculty and staff. How much these reforms cost and how colleges are funding them are key questions that need to be answered to determine whether guided pathways is a sustainable strategy for these colleges in the current business environment.”
Listen to the Latest Podcasts
Hosted by Mike Lesiecki, the project's monthly podcasts cover topics such as artificial intelligence, the internet-of-things, cybersecurity, advanced robotics, digital design and prototyping, and other topics at the changing interface of technology, work, and education.  In each podcast, you will hear interviews with industry leaders and working technicians in the field.

Marilyn Barger, Executive Director, Florida Advanced Technological Education Center and Richard Gilbert, Professor, Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, University of South Florida

Nine or ten technologies are often categorized as critical to Industry 4.0 and there are four skills that will impact manufacturing technicians over the next four to five years in their daily operational mode: simulation, the industrial internet of things, autonomous robots, and additive/subtractive manufacturing (and associated materials).

Which skills are most sought by industry? Are instructors on the same page? Using data gathered from surveys of Florida manufacturers and educators, Barger and Gilbert discovered gaps. Sometimes these were gaps in prioritization of skills that need to be taught, and other times perspective gaps based on vocabulary used by each group to talk about the skills—and also many points of agreement between the two groups.

Erik Fogleman, Senior Technology Consultant, ConnStep

Erik Fogleman from ConnStep, a consulting firm that works with Connecticut’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership, explains why today’s technicians need to learn how machines talk to each other and to the cloud and edge computing systems. They need to learn communications protocols that dictate how devices talk to each other, how to configure them, and how to troubleshoot them when they are not communicating. It’s not about more intelligent machines replacing technicians, but about machines providing technicians with more accurate “actionable intelligence.”

Catch up on any of our past podcasts here: https://www.preparingtechnicians.org/podcasts/
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Disclaimer: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under NSF DUE #1839567. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.