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WHEN BEING NUMBER TWO IS BAD

 Respected think tank Brookings Institution and McKinsey released a study last week called Automation, AI and the Future of Work. And the Triad is specifically mentioned – and not in the way we’d like for it to be. The researchers found that Greensboro is the SECOND MOST AT-RISK city in the country to lose jobs to automation and AI. Winston Salem ranks #6 – with both cities projected to lose nearly half our jobs. Those jobs most at risk include food prep, production and office support. Research also indicates that African American workers are more likely to be impacted by automation. In a time when we’re trying to address the causes and impacts of entrenched poverty and lack of economic mobility, this is not welcome news. Before you get all up in arms, consider that automation has created more jobs than its replaced. The hard part is that automation is disruptive. It requires a different set of skills. We all see it coming – and it’s up to us to be aggressive about preparing our workforce and students for what’s ahead. According to an article in the Winston Salem Journal, “Researchers said that communities have limited time to make adjustments. “It calls for urgency and for taking more and greater precautions, ranging from stepped-up provisions for lifelong learning, improved labor-market transitions, and more helpful programs to address the individual and regional hardships of the vulnerable,” the researchers said. “In that sense, the assessment may not warrant dread, but it surely requires attention and action along with the reassurance that automation has the potential to be beneficial even while it remains disruptive.” So what are the ways we as a future-focused community can do to ward off the risks? Brookings Institution researchers recommended five strategies for minimizing the impact of automation, many of which have been options touted since the turn of the century. They include: * Embrace growth and transformative technology; * Promote a constant learning mindset, such as invest in helping workers learn new skills; offers more accelerated learning and certification opportunities; and make skill development more financially accessible; * Facilitate smoother adjustments for displaced workers to get assistance, including hiring through subsidized employment programs; * Reduce hardships for workers who are struggling, such as expand income supports for those in low-paying jobs; and * Identify vulnerable employment sectors to automation and pursue investments in low-risk sectors. At Venture Cafe, we’re focused on bullet points one and two by providing free, high quality education each week focusing on building hard and soft skills, technology and the resources innovators and entrepreneurs need to start, build, grow and scale their business. What are you doing to prepare?   ______