Volume 30, No. 4: The Future of Work
Welcome to Vol. 30, No. 4, of Connections, the newsletter of the National Career Pathways Network. NCPN 2020 Virtual was a huge success! Thanks to all who attended. Visit ncpn.info often for the latest information on upcoming events.
We Have a New Look!
The familiar NCPN logo has proudly served our organization and its many supporters for thirteen years. At this year’s conference we unveiled an exciting new logo signifying our continued commitment to promoting the education and career success of our nation’s young people and adults—today, tomorrow, and far into the future!
Cross-cutting Skills in Demand for STEM Technician Jobs of the Future
Ann-Claire Anderson, Vice President, Special Projects, CORD

Technology advances are changing industries at an unprecedented pace, demanding an expanding array of knowledge, skills, and abilities from technicians in the STEM disciplines. The workplace is undergoing a major transformation driven by automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, the internet-of-things, evolving cybersecurity needs, advanced robotics, digital design prototyping, and other technologies. These Future of Work trends are bringing about rapid changes for the technician workforce and pose both challenges and opportunities for technician training and education.
Considering the Role of Higher Education in Building the Next-Generation Workforce
Todd McLees, Founder, Pendio Group

Over the past 100 years, significant shifts have occurred in the way organizations build value. In 1920, the world’s most valuable companies were primarily a result of extracting value from natural resources, such as oil and steel. By 1970, a shift had occurred to companies building value from the scalable production of human-made assets. These were companies like IBM, AT&T, Kodak, and General Motors. For today’s largest companies, such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet (Google), the vast majority of assets are intangible, digital assets.
Integrated Design Thinking at NorthWest Arkansas Community College: Approaches to Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving
Dr. Amy Warren, Integrated Design NSF Grant Director, NorthWest Arkansas Community College

Students graduating from community college degree and certificate programs need both the proficiencies expected by their fields and well-developed non-technical skills, such as the ability to solve problems. While frameworks for problem-solving are central to instructional approaches in some disciplines (e.g., the engineering design process), strategies for incorporating formal training in problem-solving are less clear in some skilled trades and technical programs. A new National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education project grant is allowing NorthWest Arkansas Community College (NWACC) in Bentonville, Arkansas, the opportunity to develop programs that teach creative problem-solving using an interdisciplinary, integrated design thinking approach.
Featured Resources
The Future of Jobs Report 2020
World Economic Forum, October 2020

From the Executive Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic-induced lockdowns and related global recession of 2020 have created a highly uncertain outlook for the labour market and accelerated the arrival of the future of work. The Future of Jobs Report 2020 aims to shed light on: 1) the pandemic-related disruptions thus far in 2020, contextualized within a longer history of economic cycles, and 2) the expected outlook for technology adoption jobs and skills in the next five years. Despite the currently high degree of uncertainty, the report uses a unique combination of qualitative and quantitative intelligence to expand the knowledge base about the future of jobs and skills. It aggregates the views of business leaders—chief executives, chief strategy officers and chief human resources officers—on the frontlines of decision-making regarding human capital with the latest data from public and private sources to create a clearer picture of both the current situation and the future outlook for jobs and skills. The report also provides in-depth information for 15 industry sectors and 26 advanced and emerging countries.
Resetting the Future of Work Agenda: Disruption and Renewal in a Post-COVID World
World Economic Forum, October 2020

From the Introduction: This report, developed in collaboration with Mercer, brings together key insights and lessons from the COVID-19 crisis response of the World Economic Forum’s broader industry community to imagine and set out an updated future of work company action agenda for a post-COVID world. In particular, the report brings together the perspectives on COVID-19 workforce-related best practices of more than 60 chief human resources officers (CHROs) from leading global employers as well as a broad range of insights into how organizations are preparing for the post-pandemic shape of work from the Forum’s network of Preparing for the Future of Work Industry Accelerators, comprising more than 200 senior HR leaders, education technology and learning providers, academia and government stakeholders in nine industries.
Items of Interest
Hiroshi Tasaka, World Economic Forum, October 23, 2020
Mass unemployment will occur because of robotics and AI. Hospitality, management and creativity cannot be substituted by AI. We need to acquire and refine more sophisticated abilities in these areas. The COVID-19 crisis is going to accelerate a number of changes and transformations in human society. Notably, the pandemic is expected to significantly accelerate the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Community College Research Center (CCRC), June 2019–November 2020
Hundreds of community colleges nationally are adopting guided pathways reforms, and CCRC is studying guided pathways implementation in well over 100 colleges. However, an important gap in the field’s understanding of guided pathways is the cost of implementing such large-scale reforms, which may involve hiring new advisors, upgrading websites, implementing new or improved student information systems, and providing extensive training and coordination of faculty and staff. How much these reforms cost and how colleges are funding them are key questions that need to be answered to determine whether guided pathways is a sustainable strategy for these colleges in the current business environment.
McKinsey Global Institute, September 23, 2020
Responses to a McKinsey global survey of 800 executives suggest a disruptive period of workplace changes lies ahead due to acceleration of automation, digitization, and other trends.
Upcoming Events
Leadership Development Academy
The NCPN Leadership Development Academy (LDA) is a year-long professional development program designed to help Career Pathways practitioners develop leadership skills. The 2020–2021 LDA will run from December 2020 through October 2021. The registration deadline is November 16.
Career Pathways Leadership (CPL) Certification Workshops
Upcoming Workshops: Feb 22–23 and 24–25, 2021
Nashville (TN) Airport Marriott
We are moving forward with the expectation of holding the Feb 2021 workshops as planned. However, because of COVID-19, cancellation may be unavoidable. The final decision will be made by January 10. In the event of cancellation, all paid registrations will be fully refunded.
The CPL workshops are designed to enhance the knowledge and skills of current and future Career Pathways leaders. If you are involved in career and technical education, adult education, counseling, corrections, or workforce development and your duties have expanded to include Career Pathways, these sessions are for you!
©2020 CORD. Connections is published by the National Career Pathways Network (ncpn.info), an organization of CORD (cord.org). NCPN assists educators, employers, and other stakeholders in planning, implementing, evaluating, and improving workforce education programs. Questions? Mark Whitney, 254-741-8315, mwhitney@cord.org