With rapidly changing advances in technology and automation, the nature of work is rapidly changing too. How will these changes impact jobs and the communities in which we live (and serve)?
As an example, Amazon’s recent move to purchase Whole Foods made headlines not only because the merger will impact how people shop for food, but also how people shop in general. With goals for increased efficiency, convenience, and personalized experiences, such business models stand to significantly impact traditional workforce and community development models. Given such challenges, how might we go about changing the way we partner with individuals, organizations, businesses and communities to secure and strengthen community vitality?
Or consider this: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 58.7 percent of all wage and salary workers (or 79.9 million workers) age 16 and older in the US were paid at hourly rates. How will this workforce be affected by new automated technologies, especially those paid an hourly minimum wage? How will an increased use of automated technologies drive pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)? According to the Smithsonian Science Education Center, over 40 percent of STEM-related jobs go unfilled due to an unqualified applicant pool in the United States.
Extension professionals work “to create opportunities for people to explore how science-based knowledge can improve social, economic, and environmental conditions.” (OSU Extension, 2017). There is little doubt that the nature of work is changing and what the workforce of tomorrow wants in the way of work is changing too. We are facing some significant challenges… Who is ready to get to work?
Meghan Thoreau is a County Extension Educator (Pickaway County and Heart of Ohio EERA).
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017, April 1). BLS Report: characteristics of minimum wage workers, 2016. Retrieved from United States Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/minimum-wage/2016/home.htm
OSU Extension. (2017, July 07). Vision, Mission, Values. Retrieved from Ohio State University Extension: https://extension.osu.edu/about/vision-mission-values
Smithsonian Science Education Center. (2017, July 07). The STEM Imperative. Retrieved from Smithsonian Science Education Center: https://ssec.si.edu/stem-imperative