Executive Director's Message

August 2019

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

today’s jobs.

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

to automate.

Research and development being carried out by the NSF-ATE funded

Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work project at CORD (Center

for Occupational Research and Development) in partnership with FLATE

(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