The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a devastating loss of lives and livelihoods around the globe, and for those of us continuing to shelter-in-place, it has drastically changed the way we go about our daily lives. With limited opportunities to return to work for millions, COVID-19 has also accomplished something that few of us could have predicted: it has revealed fundamental flaws in how we approach employment in the face of changing times.
Fears of automation replacing various jobs have been bandied about for years, with industry watchers reporting nervousness around everything from fast food order kiosks to manufacturing, medicine, and even management. And while those fears are absolutely well-founded, few people have proposed real solutions. Refusing to use a self-serve checkout at the grocery store isn’t going to stop the future from coming.
Growing up in West Virginia, I’ve seen the impact that an industry collapse can have on jobs, people, and an entire region first-hand. When jobs disappear without a plan to replace them, the word “disastrous” doesn’t even begin to explain the outcome.
Automation shows us how upskilling out of unemployment is possible