I have frequently shared that what drew me to my now more than 40-year career in higher education, specifically community college education, is the power of education to change lives. And, a favorite aspect of all of my different roles over the years has been the opportunity to meet and connect with students and hear their stories. Our Waubonsee website includes many stories of individuals who made Waubonsee Community College part of their learning experience at all stages of life.
As a lifelong educator within the community college setting, I also have been interested in trends within occupations as these trends are important to keeping our programs relevant. And like many others, I am particularly interested in the future of work following a global pandemic. Some of the questions include how and where we will work and in what types of jobs?
The McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report, “The future of work after COVID-19,” reviewed some of these questions. Based upon their research, MGI estimates that of low-wage workers in declining occupations, more than half will need to shift to new occupations that require different skills. MGI also reported that while remote work would not become predominant, the impact could be significant for urban centers including restaurants, retail, and public transportation.
Although few know what the true impact of the pandemic will be on the future of work, it is certain that for many, lifelong learning will become more important than ever. As organizations internalize and continue new ways of working and doing business in an increasingly hybrid world of both in-person and virtual environments, we will need to continue to develop the skills to function productively and efficiently. We will need lifelong learning. For many, that will mean a new degree or certificate to start a new career. For others, it will mean one or two classes to remain relevant in their current job or to seek a promotion.
For the past two years, the pandemic has transformed much of daily life. Lifelong learning has the power to transform you and your future. When I think about the future of work, I still have questions however I am also excited about the transformation and potential I see before us. For more than 55 years, Waubonsee Community College has been a go-to resource for this community. As you consider your own lifelong learning and transformation, I encourage you to explore all the learning opportunities available to you at your community college, Waubonsee Community College.