Today's Job Market: Are job seekers prepared for 21st century jobs?
by Rick Creasy
Feb 24, 2013 | 613 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
­The value of technology and computer science for future jobs cannot be over emphasized.

Take for example the transportation and automotive sector. Have you heard of Bridge Evaluation System (3DOBS), Thermal Infrared Imagery (ThIR) or the Ultra Wide Band 17 Imaging RADAR System (UWBIRS)? These are just a few areas of cutting edge research in remote sensing technologies for bridge and road health monitoring.

Research has determined that remote sensing can enhance technical performance of bridge inspection and improve the resource allocation decision process for transportation agencies. Use of these technologies can be especially beneficial when combined with a decision support system (DSS) which Michigan Tech Transportation Institute (MTTI) and Michigan Tech Research Institute (MTRI), in cooperation with the Center for Automotive Research (CAR) and the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), have investigated.

Wow! Now take a deep breath. Did any of that make sense?

The point is, innovation in science, computers and technology is moving forward at super sonic speeds in all areas of our life. Industry is leading the way forward in response to market demands, new discoveries and innovation. My question is ... are we as individuals, are we as educators keeping pace?

I’ve chosen to cite news related to the transportation and bridge technical innovation and current research, but I could cite the same type of cutting edge “news” for any number of job sectors in the U.S. including healthcare diagnostics, aerospace, green energy, manufacturing, supply chain and pharmaceuticals.

Six sectors illustrate the potential for job growth in this decade: health care, business services, leisure and hospitality, construction, manufacturing and retail. These sectors span a wide range of job types, skills and growth dynamics. They account for 66 percent of employment today, and we project that they will account for up to 85 percent of new jobs created through the end of the decade. (McKinsey Institute)

The common denominator for each of them is the need for individuals to demonstrate competency in computer science and technology skills.

I recently attended a national meeting for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) where the hiring manager for Microsoft told the audience that Microsoft currently has 6,000 openings in the U.S., but cannot fill them because there exists a shortage of qualified, trained candidates to fill the openings. Six thousand openings!

Don’t blame Washington D.C. or state politicians altogether for job shortages or high unemployment rates. Don’t blame companies for moving some operations overseas. And please don’t tell me you want unemployment benefits extended another 90 days unless you are actively engaged in a high jobs-demand, re-training program. If you are currently unemployed or under-employed, it’s highly likely you will remain unemployed unless you return to school, complete school or obtain specific credentialed skill training in a high-demand job position.

Our CSCC workforce development team is currently involved with several local companies which are looking for qualified, skilled candidates who can work together in a team setting, pass a drug screen and who know how to communicate effectively. However, please note, even manufacturing jobs are requiring skills related to computers and technology.

As leaders, as parents and as students in Bradley County, we need to be asking the hard questions of each other. What is my school doing to prepare me for 21st century jobs? What am I doing to seek the skill training that will help me earn a living in the 21st century? Times are changing and we must make changes in order to succeed in the 21st century job market.