FLATE Focus 

ATE Leadership Caucus Looks to the Future

In mid-December, the new “Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work” project hosted its advisory committee and Principal Investigators from ATE centers, coordination networks and projects in Alexandria, Virginia to explore anticipated impacts on the “future of work” on the advanced technicians graduating from our programs.  This event kick-started the four-year ATE special project focused identifying what skills and knowledge the technician workforce will need in the coming decades and how we can best deploy them. The project advisory committee met the day prior to the Caucus and those 10 industry representatives joined the ATE Caucus to share their industry perspectives.  The funded “Preparing Technicians” project is providing an important opportunity for the ATE community to come together and look toward the future of technician education and what we will want and need to change in our educational systems to best prepare students for the jobs of the future.

Several NSF program officers from programs focused on the NSF’s “Big Idea” focusing on the Future of Work at the Human Technology Interface. This program spans the breadth of the National Science Foundation’s programs including the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program. And, it is one of ten “Big Ideas” (see the Big Ideas webpage) that the National Science Foundation is promoting to prompt scientists and engineering researchers to investigate interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary topics and applications of emerging technologies. The ATE Impacts Blog has a recent post from the Caucus event that highlights the presentations from these NSF program officers at the Caucus.

You can join the Preparing Technician’s community by signing up on its website, PreparingTechnians.org, and/or read the posted article from the December Caucus, which summarizes the amazing presentation by Mehran Gul, Lead for Digital Transformation Initiative at the World Economic Forum (Geneva, Switzerland). This presentation gives a thought-provoking historic and global perspective of work and anticipates the future. You can also find the project’s monthly podcasts as well as other resources.

The fast pace of technological change, the power of artificial intelligence, G5 communication platforms, flexible manufacturing and virtual / augmented reality will affect how many workers do their work every day. We must do our best to anticipate what industry will look like for working technicians. FLATE looks forward to sharing news from the Preparing Technicians for the Future of Work project as it explores the technology workforce and workplace of the near future. For more information about the Preparing Technicians projects, contact the project P.I., Ann-Clair Anderson (anderson@cord.org) or Marilyn Barger, Executive Director, FLATE (barger@fl-ate.org).