MIT’s Task Force on the Work of the Future has been providing perspectives, responding to media inquiries, and participating in virtual events to share viewpoints on the economy, government response, worker voice, and technological advancements.
Adoption of new technologies will change future workplace organization, skill demands, and the employment options available to large segments of the working population. Some tasks will be automated, some will be augmented, and new tasks that require a new mix of skills will be added to existing jobs. While many workers will be displaced, adverse job impacts may also be offset by positive “complementarity” effects, in which new jobs in new fields or new features of existing jobs mitigate automation effects, augment worker productivity, and foster upskilling.
Understanding the evolving character of skill demand is a task that is shared by this group along with other researchers in the Task Force. One activity of this sub-group is a review of what past research has had to say regarding changing skill demands. In addition as part of the sub-group’s activities with respect to community colleges we will collect data on what skills are being sought by employers who work with community colleges. These “grounded” data should provide considerable insight.
The major focus of this sub-group will be to explore new pathways and institutional arrangements for delivering skills, training, and education. We will focus on the role of community colleges and how best to improve their performance in light of new demands. We will also examine the role of what might be termed non-traditional skill delivery systems ranging from labor market intermediaries to boot camps and other institutional innovations. There is also much to be learned from the experience of other countries who have well developed training systems and we will draw on this knowledge as well as examine how those nations are evolving their own systems in light of new technologies. Related to all of this are innovations in delivery systems such as distance learning and a wide range of computer based teaching technologies and the group will seek to understand the potential of these innovations. Finally experiments in cognitive pedagogy will help determine what strategies work best to prepare workers for the digital workplace.