Losing Jobs to Automation Requires Big Retraining Push, Mike Walden Says

Losing Jobs to Automation Requires Big Retraining Push, Mike Walden Says

Business North Carolina (Blog)

2/5/21

More than trade pacts or changing consumer habits, automation has accounted for the convulsion in North Carolina’s manufacturing sector in recent decades, according to Mike Walden, Extension Economist at NC State University. COVID-19 may accelerate that trend — with even some meatpackers installing robotics on their production lines. “That should make an impression on all of us, because the industry in North Carolina employs more than 30,000 workers and has an annual payroll of around $1 billion,” he says. As technology claims a larger share of the work formerly performed by people, education will be increasingly vital to sustaining careers. “It’s not just going to be about training young people for jobs,” says Walden. “It’s going to be increasingly about retraining workers who have been out in the labor force for 10, 20, 30 years, and they find out one day that their occupation isn’t there.”

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