Fueled by a $600,000 grant from the Muncie-based Ball Brothers Foundation, a coalition of private and public organizations has launched the Future of Work in east-central Indiana. The initiative intends to prepare the next generation of employees for work in the 21st century.
Organizers say nearly every job is being impacted by technology, automation, advanced computing and artificial intelligence.
“We live in a very complex, dynamic world; it’s constantly changing,” said Kyra Zylstra, Future of Work coordinator. “Unless we are proactive in how we approach the future of work, we are going to feel unprepared.”
To prepare the workforce of the future, citizens, businesses, nonprofits and educational organizations in Muncie created the Future of Work program.
“Technology is not going to replace humans,” said Corey Sharp, director of Purdue Polytechnic Institute Anderson. But he says it’s vital that future employees learn how to work with these evolving technologies in the workforce.
Program leaders say one of the focus areas of Future of Work is to build and strengthen the STEM education to workforce pipeline, starting as early as elementary school.
One such example is a robotics league launched across Delaware, Madison, Jay and Hancock counties to introduce STEM to students early on.
Grants from Ball Brothers Foundation have helped support training for teachers and coaches, as well as the creation of new teams.
“As a foundation, we recognize the value of hands-on jobs and the need to develop and sustain a skilled workforce,” said Jud Fisher, president and chief operating officer of Ball Brothers Foundation. “Future of Work is about preserving the economic success of our community over multiple generations.”
Learn more about the program by clicking here.