Where are the jobs?

New study unveils California's jobs of the future and implications for community colleges

Dec 13, 2012, 10:30 ET from Centers of Excellence

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Dec. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Centers of Excellence (COE), in partnership with the Institute for the Future (IFTF) released a new study that analyzes economic drivers and key trends reshaping STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) disciplines and impacting the landscape of future labor markets in California through 2032. The COE, funded in part by the Chancellor's Office, is a division of California Community Colleges' Economic and Workforce Development Division (CCCEWD), delivering industry-validated workforce research for community college decision making and resource development.

"This new study identifies seven key drivers of change that make up the deep underlying forces that will shape the future landscape of work in California," Institute for the Future Executive Director Marina Gorbis explained. "They are the emerging technological capabilities and social and demographic trends that are driving the major transformations in every aspect of society and the economy across domains such as agriculture, health, security, media, manufacturing, retail, and infrastructure."

The seven key drivers in the study include the following.

  1. Health Divide - A deluge of health information and an explosion of personalized health tracking devices and platforms will further polarize the health care system.
  2. De-institutionalization  - Connective technologies are catalyzing new forms of social production, enabling people to work and create value in new ways.
  3. Energy  - The energy system of the 21st century will run on renewables and distributed production techniques.
  4. Volatility and Uncertainty - Disruption will be the default field of operation for institutions, with foresight and resiliency being core to survival.
  5. Smart Machines  - New partnerships between humans and intelligent machines will redis­tribute and redefine labor.
  6. New Manufacturing - Basic assumptions and practices of producing goods will be challenged by 3D printers, programmable mat­ter, and advanced materials.
  7. Big Data - More data will be produced in the next decade than has been produced in all of human history

After the drivers were evaluated, the research team forecasted how the convergences of drivers are likely to impact seven specific industries. Following each forecast, the report identifies a signal—something that already exists today, whether a new product, practice, market strategy, or technology—that points to a larger transformation, and then illustrates, with a prototype of a future job description, what that transformation will mean in terms of occupations and the necessary job requirements, skills and education.

COE Statewide Director, Elaine Gaertner said, "Not only will the content of work in California change in the future, but many new occupations will arise that are not even in existence today; even basic notions of how work is defined and performed will also be transformed."

The team developed "taglines" for each industry that provide bottom-line insights into these futuristic jobs including:

  • AGRICULTURE : from mechanized farming to intelligent cultivation
  • HEALTH: from occasional check-ups to continuous care
  • SECURITY: from detective work to predictive policing
  • MEDIA: from passive consumption to interactive participation
  • MANUFACTURING: from linear supply chains to lightweight production networks
  • RETAIL: from mass consumption to personalized experiences
  • INFRASTRUCTURE: from basic needs to engine of innovation

So how does this information impact California community colleges?  Community colleges, themselves an innovative solution to the quickly evolving educational and economic landscape of the 20th century, will be among the first to ride these new waves of change. To continue serving the needs of California students and employers, the post-secondary system should use this work to inform STEM education, and assess its impact on industry sectors, workforce demands and necessary job skills.

Vice Chancellor, Workforce and Economic Division, Van Ton-Quinlivan said, "California community colleges are already in the process of making a deeper shift in understanding the changing market dynamics so that we can align funding streams and curriculum to better prepare California's future workforce.  This study will prove invaluable to colleges in beginning, revising, or updating economic development and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs and curriculum, and in advising our Doing What Matters campaign that engages community colleges with workforce professionals, economic development and business and industry to develop the skills and talent of the future workforce."

The study, STEM in 20, sets the stage for a series of collaborative conversation among key stakeholders, K-12 partners and community colleges. The research team will be presenting and engaging educators on these topics throughout the year at key events. See www.coeccc.net/STEMin20 for more information.

For a free download of the full study and individual industry fact sheets, or for a schedule of upcoming events, go to www.COECCC.net/STEMin20. For information about IFTF, visit www.iftf.org.

SOURCE Centers of Excellence