The Third Education Revolution

The Atlantic (03/22/18) Selingo, Jeffrey

A recent report by McKinsey Global Institute estimated that in about 60 percent of occupations, at least one-third of activities could be automated by 2030. Policy officials say job training should target key skills that complement technology, such as problem solving, teamwork, and communication. At the same time, training must occur more regularly and less episodically than it does at present in order to keep pace with the increasing churn of jobs. Some economists and workforce-training officials advocate "work sharing," which allows employees to retrain while they are still employed. Work sharing programs are now in place in more than 25 states, where employers reduce staff hours and pay and states make up some of the lost wages. Michael Horn, a higher-education consultant, proposes what he calls "renewable learning funds" that would be paid for by an alternative form of financial aid called income-share agreements. Some states offer Lifelong Learning Accounts, a 401(k)-like plan that allows employers and workers to contribute to an account for retraining purposes. Julian Alssid, vice president of workforce development at the Community College of Rhode Island, believes that a hybrid of liberal-arts and technical education is what is most needed in training programs. He asserts, "We do know that these jobs will require a highly adaptable workforce that can think critically, creatively, and work collaboratively to find solutions to rapidly developing, complex problems."

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