Re-Thinking Workforce Training with Automation’s Rise

Re-Thinking Workforce Training with Automation’s Rise

Indiana has about 387,000 people working in production occupations and about 314,000 people working in transportation and material moving occupations, according to data from the BLS. With such high numbers, it’s probably safe to assume terms like “autonomous trucking” or “smart factories” has a lot of people concerned about the future. Companies want to be proactive, but there’s a lot of uncertainty ahead. What types of things should we be training for today so we can preserve jobs for tomorrow?

Such a big question required expert input, so we reached out to two of the leading statewide organizations for manufacturing and logistics-related companies: the Indiana Manufacturing Association (IMA) and Conexus Indiana. Their responses provided valuable insights that employers should know.


Embracing New Mindsets

Malika Graham Butler, Assistant Vice President, Governmental Affairs
Indiana Manufacturers Association

The likelihood of certain jobs being impacted by technology is largely driven by two factors: creativity and repetition. Jobs requiring high creativity and less repetition aren’t as vulnerable to replacement by artificial intelligence.

As the revolution in technology substitutes for lower-skilled jobs that pose the most vulnerability across the entire economy, the displacement of workers by technology will provide the opportunity of the creation in new and innovative jobs that can’t even be forecasted yet.

As companies begin to strategize how to respond to this challenge, there should be openness to a shift in expectations about employment and willingness to embrace new mindsets for what it means to be employable: the agile and adaptive skills for humans and technologies in hybrid roles in the work-place.

In order to keep hiring practices and workforce development competitive for tomorrow’s jobs, the foundation of employability is critical. Emotional intelligence. Agility. Soft Skills. Craft training practices around strengths that people will need to develop to find security in this rapidly changing environment, including critical thinking skills, adaptability, and tenaciousness. Skills and behaviors such as these will be a crucial in preparation for highly technical jobs we aren’t quite able to see yet.


Basic Skills, Lifelong Learning

Brad Rhorer, Chief Talent Programs Officer,
Conexus Indiana

Companies across the country are maximizing the use of advanced technology, automation, and data to increase their competitiveness and productivity. In Indiana, companies are at different stages in this digital transformation – commonly referred to as Industry 4.0. Preparing talent to succeed in this constantly evolving landscape requires an equal amount of basic skills training and lifelong learning.

One of our newest talent programs is designed to build a stronger workforce pipeline and establish a foundation for continuous learning as companies adopt Industry 4.0 technologies. Several of our other talent programs give students hands-on, real-world experience.

Workers in the advanced manufacturing and logistics industries need basic skills and the ability to problem-solve and learn as technologies are introduced. Each company will adopt new technologies at their own pace, and the technologies they adopt will be unique to their business goals. The good news is that Industry 4.0 will provide opportunities for talent to upskill and have meaningful, challenging careers.


Preparing to Learn

Rather than making training plans for any particular technical skill, companies need to focus on developing the kinds of continuous learning skills that will be essential for building an adaptive workforce. The future holds a large amount of fluidity, and we’re going to need people that can adjust quickly to new challenges and new problems. These uniquely human abilities will position any company well against the forthcoming challenges headed for many industries.

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Category Features, Logistics