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Projects | August 3, 2020

Learning, Education, Training, and Skills

Paul Osterman, Sanjay Sarma, Thomas Kochan, Suzanne Berger, Kathleen Thelen, Tavneet Suri, Inez von Weitershausen

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.

Related Research

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MIT Global Research Network

Elisabeth Reynolds Executive Director, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future; Executive Director, MIT Industrial Performance Center; Principal Research Scientist; Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Timothy Sturgeon Senior Researcher, MIT Industrial Performance Center
Jason Jackson Assistant Professor of Political Economy and Urban Planning
Charles Fine Chrysler Leaders for Global Operations Professor of Management; Professor of Operations Management and Engineering Systems

The Global Research Network is an MIT-led network of researchers, generating comparative international research to help reach data-driven conclusions on topics related to the work of the future and other relevant topics.

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Regions and Industries

Suzanne Berger Raphael Dorman-Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science
Elisabeth Reynolds Executive Director, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future; Executive Director, MIT Industrial Performance Center; Principal Research Scientist; Lecturer, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Frank Levy Rose Professor Emeritus, MIT
Susan Helper Professor, Case Western Reserve University
Daniel Traficonte PhD Candidate, Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Anna Waldman-Brown Research Associate and PhD Student

MIT WotF task force researches trends in several industries in terms of technology adoption, changing skills requirements and overall changes to work and jobs.

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