NCATC Friends and Colleagues,
As summer begins to wind down and CTE high schools and community and
technical colleges begin ramping back up for the fall semester, our National
Coalition Strategic Partners continue working on their emerging technologies,
coupled with the workforce and economic development initiatives of
our members. NCATC is actively involved in many of these key initiatives.
As Industry 4.0, which includes automation, robotics, additive manufacturing,
artificial intelligence, virtual simulation, and the industrial internet of
things (IIoT), evolves and becomes more mainstream for even small and
medium-sized organizations, many economists and workforce experts say
“we don’t know where the jobs will come from, but we know they will be
there.” However, this prediction does not comfort anyone worried about
the future of work when venerable institutions like McKinsey and Oxford
University are predicting that automation could actually eliminate half of all
Economists are correct that new technologies are increasing efficiency
and safety while making products better rather than cheaper. But no one
should hide from the reality that some people will lose jobs in the process
and many more will fear they will be next.
Any job that can be automated (routine jobs that require rapid, error-free
repetition) inevitably will be. But non-routine jobs—not only high-tech jobs
for technicians, technologists, coders, and engineers but also personal
services jobs like nurses and teachers—are in high and rising demand, and
they aren’t vulnerable to automation.
What we need is to prepare more people for the world of non-routine work.
That means not only more education and training for more people, but also
training that is better targeted to the skills non-routine work requires—skills
that are both hard (technical) and soft (social). In addition to non-routine
jobs, work that requires empathy and emotional intelligence will be harder
Research and development being carried out by the NSF-ATE funded
(Florida Advanced Technological Education Center) has also shown that
the work of the future will be cross-disciplinary and technicians will be immersed in diverse platforms and interrelated systems that once belonged
to single-industry sectors.
We look forward to seeing you at the 2019 NCATC Fall Conference hosted by the Minnesota State Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence (MSAMCoE), formerly 360 in the Twin Cities, MN, on September 11–13, 2019.
As always, we encourage you to stay regularly connected, via the NEW 2019 NCATC website, social media, and quarterly e-newsletters like this one.
J. Craig McAtee, NCATC Executive Director