Points of View

Our Next 'Issue Spotlight' Looks into the Future

Our Next 'Issue Spotlight' Looks into the Future

Alex Andrews

The world of work is changing at an ever-faster rate, and this transformation is just as profound as the Industrial Revolution.

Workers, employers, educators, and workforce developers alike are experiencing an era of historic disruption, facing unprecedented challenges driven by artificial intelligence, automation and an increasingly global economy. These trends are evident in our recently released report on The Future of Work, which is intended to reframe Michigan’s talent attraction, retention, and development efforts to the talent needs of tomorrow.

  1. Talent is more mobile than ever before, creating marked winners and losers in the ongoing fight to convince talented workers to come to, or stay in, the state.

  2. The nature of work is undergoing a fundamental transition, placing an increased emphasis on higher-order thinking skills such as innovation, adaptive reasoning, cultural and global awareness, and technological literacy.

  3. The demand for talent with post-secondary credentials ranging from career technical education to advanced degrees across all industries continues to accelerate.

  4. The pace of automation, use of artificial intelligence, and other innovations continues to disrupt once stable and predictable talent development efforts by education, workforce, business, and government planners.

To address these emerging challenges, our state and local communities need a flexible, adaptable talent pipeline that can produce employees with the skills needed to succeed in this new world. While technical skills can be developed rather quickly through traditional education and training programs, it often takes a lifetime to truly master soft skills. These fundamental skills are the true value-add of human capital. They are uniquely human, cannot be replicated by automation, and are critical for talent to remain competitive in the future of work. A future where it’s no longer just about what you know, but how you can contextualize problems and apply accumulated knowledge to solve rapidly evolving problems in collaboration with specialized technology.

How do we identify and sharpen the skills that people will need to thrive in this new landscape? How do we prepare West Michigan students and workers for the workplace of tomorrow? The report addresses these questions and more, and details a list of the policy and programmatic changes that will be necessary in each sector to build a more agile and resilient talent base in preparation for this impending future of work.

 

Attend Our Upcoming Issue Spotlight

The report is a groundbreaking collaboration between Talent 2025 and Calvin University’s Center for Social Research which examines the impact of automation on the importance of 16 soft skills across industries, occupations, geography, and time. However, publication of our findings is just the beginning. This is an invitation to explore the data and join the conversation about preparing our people, our businesses, and our community for the future of work.

Register to attend the next installment of our Spotlight Series on the Future of Work, hosted via Zoom on Friday, August 13th from 12-1pm (EST).

In this session we will cover the data, research, and insights behind the report, talk to employers about the changing nature of work and heightened value of soft skills in the workplace, and speak to leaders in education and workforce development about recent innovative efforts in West Michigan to prepare the next generation of workers to thrive in this evolving workplace. We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions.

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