“The more things change, the more they stay the…” – stop, that can’t be true, here are my thoughts as we prepare to enter a new decade, the 2020s.
In the past five years, headlines and evening news segments warned of job losses and mass hysteria due to robotics and artificial intelligence moving into the new decade. Yet, standing on the doorstep of the new decade, record unemployment is the topic of the day and there are indications that industries like American auto manufacturers are expanding and adding thousands of new jobs. Ford just announced plans to invest an additional $1.5 billion in two Michigan assembly plants. This alone will create 3,000 new factory jobs. Add that to the $4.5 billion Fiat Chrysler has pledged to new production in Michigan, which will create more than 6,000 additional jobs! Auto makers say design and build of higher tech autos is leading to more jobs and requiring higher skills of employees.
Watch these videos from Autodesk and TEDxTalks about construction in the next decade:
Watch on YouTube »
Watch on YouTube »
Construction is experiencing much the same. Lt. Governor Rutherford says Maryland lacks skilled workers who fill in-demand, high paying jobs, which is contributing to higher costs in construction projects. Documentation shows total costs of building projects increased due to a high demand for and low supply of skilled workers, adjustments to the scope of projects, and the rebidding of trade packages. The Maryland Governor’s Office says unemployment is the lowest its been in eleven years and that local school districts need to offer skilled trades curriculum because there are many young people who would have opportunities to develop these skills and earn a really, good living coming out of school. Organizations like NECA/IBEW/the Electrical Training Alliance are prepared and eager to help bring curriculum back into local schools. The need for skilled labor and the promise of industry-changing technologies are a one-two punch for building the workforce needed for the construction industry over the next decade. The next wave of construction employees will naturally embrace technologies as described by Christopher McFadden in his article 7 Construction Industry Trends to Watch in 2020 for interestingengineering.com.
So I say, bring on the new decade and its challenges, but let’s not forget to bring in new technologies to help train the new generation of skilled workers who will ensure record growth in the expansion of the construction industry coming our way.
Additional reading about new work skills required for the future of manufacturing and construction:
- WSJ: Ford to Create 3,000 Factory Jobs in Michigan as Part of New UAW Contract
- Labor shortage makes Maryland construction projects more costly
We'll be on break for the holidays and will resume regular distributions of the NECA Technology email on January 9. Happy Holidays!
NECA Technology – the Project for Applied and Disruptive Technology, explores the world of technology and keeps members informed of what’s happening today, and of what will be launched in the not-too-distant future. Dr. Joey Shorter has an extensive background in education and experience in translating the work of academics into understandable, practical ideas.