A Publication of WTVP

The one thing that we know for sure is that the jobs of tomorrow will not look like the jobs of today! The jobs of tomorrow will be shaped by the forces of a dynamic and rapidly changing global innovation economy. They will also be shaped by new technologies, such as nanotechnology, biotechnology and robotics, plus major advances in genetics and information technology.

Many of the jobs that will emerge over the next 25 years don’t even exist today. According to Dr. James Canton, author of The Extreme Future: The Top Trends That Will Reshape the World for the Next 5, 10, and 20 Years, such jobs may include:

Workforce researchers also agree that tomorrow’s jobs will require higher skills and abilities than those of yesterday or today. These skills will include: technology; math; science; communication (reading comprehension, speaking and writing); complex problem solving, critical and analytical thinking; creative thinking; teaming; service orientation; and work ethic (customer service, personal responsibility, attendance, timeliness, etc.).

Another reality of the 21st century will be the search for talent to meet the needs of this global innovation economy, which will not be confined to geographic boundaries. The search for talent and skills will be global. As a result, young people of today will be competing with virtually everyone in the world for tomorrow’s jobs. Unfortunately, most of our young people are not well prepared to compete with their international counterparts.

U.S. students rank poorly when compared to their international counterparts in the critical areas of math and science. Also, fewer U.S. students are choosing math, science and engineering majors in college. Higher percentages of community college students need remedial courses in such basic subjects as math, reading and English. The average graduation rate for U.S. high schools is about 70 percent. Of those students who graduate in Illinois, only between 50 and 60 percent are meeting basic competencies in reading, math, writing, science and social science.

Many Americans take false satisfaction in the “perceived reality” that their children go to “good schools.” However, while students at the upper socio-economic spectrum of our society generally fare better than their lower income counterparts, the sad reality is that few of our U.S. students are well prepared to compete with the best students internationally. In addition, U.S. employers are citing major skill deficits in the quality of their entrant workforce. This will pose a serious problem for U.S. competitiveness in this new century when available talent will not be synonymous with geographic or political boundaries.

In order to address this looming crisis we will have to rise to the challenges of the new century. We will have to totally re-engineer our systems of education and talent development to continue to prosper in the future. IBI