Technology is coming for our jobs, unless we learn its ways.

Source: George Grantham Bain Collection

“Bringing back jobs”, something horses weren’t able to do when Henry Ford drove into town and its certainly something we can’t do to ours if technology proves a more efficient worker. It’s been replacing jobs in manufacturing with robots, discounting truck drivers with their laborious-repetitive job and even dislodging cinema attendants who lose out to Netflix. Tech is showing no slow down in the job armageddon, but don’t despair, because there are new skilled jobs that are fueling the beast.

At the basic level, technology only strives to achieves one thing, solve problems, very efficiently. The parties that ensure this are the booming tech companies that are run by not just coders who make the solution achievable but also business strategists that manage and improve the solution.

Tech companies keep growing because:

  1. The entrepreneurs understand the problem
  2. The coders find a solution to the problem
  3. The business employees manage the solution

The simultaneous integration of these three principles ensure that tech solutions are efficient and effective by having a computer that can run tasks faster without any breaks 24/7-365, its just humanly impossible. But these computers or robots need human initiation, implementation & management, and thats where growing jobs in tech companies come to play. The key differentiating factor for what jobs get replaced and which ones stay is based on the work skills (or activities) rather than the occupation.


Skill Development in the City of LA

Education breakdown for the City of Los Angeles (HS: High School, BA: Bachelor of Arts). Source: Los Angeles: People, Industry & Jobs, by LAWBD in 2015.

For the City of Los Angeles the loss of jobs is especially haunting as less than 45% of citizens have a college degree, making the city prone to having jobs that would eventually be replaced by tech. To ensure that the LA workforce evolves jobs for the future and escapes the tech takeover, people need to gain new skills that won’t be replaced (for at least the next half century). These skills are not prone to being replaced by robots and they also form the elements that drive tech company job growth; Creativity for harnessing activities that people in bulge in that could lead to entrepreneurial endeavors, Coding would be essential in finding efficient ways technology could solve problems and Business management skills in ensuring the companies execute successfully.

The City of LA Workforce Development Board should manage and implement this skill growth program. It was set up in 2015 and has an annual fund of $50 million to ensure job seeking LA citizens get hired by employers. The strategy to deliver the job skills would be nano-degrees. The nano-degrees would be certificates for accredited online video courses that fall under any of the three skill types, which would include:

  • Creativity: Animation, Film production, Health & fitness, Writing, etc.
  • Coding: Web & Mobile Development, IT Security, Data analytics, etc.
  • Business: Marketing, Management, Sales, Human Resources, Accounting, etc.

The online video courses would allow citizens to be working and earning for their families while also developing their skills through the courses. The video courses would be taught by experts of each field the nano-degrees deal with, they will have:

  • Modules designed by the Workforce Board on advice from industry experts along with the course instructors or
  • Modules adopted from video learning websites like Udacity (that have sponsored nano-degrees by Google, Facebook etc)

Best Practices

Source: Udacity.com

Employers should be made to ensure their current employees earn Nano-degrees at required intervals (that would be determined by the LAWDB).

For citizens that are unemployed, they should be encouraged to gain Nano-degrees by employers after being offered interviews, to encourage them to build their skills.

Nano-degrees should embrace existing local industries like Health Services, Government & Logistics with courses focusing on these industries.

Cross county recognition of nano-degrees will be pivotal in ensuring all the cities’ employers recognize nano-degree job seekers.

Risk

Courses might start to be completed by someone other than the registered student, post-course completion tests should be implemented and be taken in-person.

Wifi or laptops might not be affordable for lower income communities. The Workforce Board should provide subsidized wifi and laptops to households and further subsidize them on course completion or job acquisition to ensure they keep developing their skills.

Publicizing the advantages of the Nano-degrees by the Board would be pivotal in ensuring LA’s citizens understand the benefits of learning new skills.

Metrics & Next Steps

By the use of Data Analytics, the employment success rate of Nano-degree holders can be measured to see how unsuccessful job seekers can learn from the steps successful ones took to get hired.

All courses should be updated in tandem with future industry standards to avoid teaching outdated concepts.

If there turns out to be hot zones where unhired graduates come from, it would be encouraged to work with schools and libraries in the area along with building maker-spaces for these zones to provide one-on-one sessions to ensure more graduates not only improve their skills but also get career advice and mentoring.

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