Lifelong learning

Date posted: October 29, 2012

Everyone says education is the key to getting a good job in today’s economy, but with the economy changing so rapidly, how does a worker know that the training they receive today will keep them employed in five or 10 years? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden responds.

“Well …, that’s an excellent question. And the answer is, they don’t. Particularly for technical jobs in areas like manufacturing, health care, machinery, the technology and the procedures in those areas (are) rapidly changing. This means that retraining often becomes a necessity for workers in those areas to sometimes keep their jobs.

“Now how we get retrained, I think, is really evolving, and I think this is a real point of discussion in today’s economy. Many workers simply can’t afford to go back to school for a year or two and get retrained, and employers also can’t wait. So many people are talking about faster ways to retrain workers. For example, they’re focused on online classes or maybe some classes where you actually do sit in the classroom, but you get that new skill in a matter of weeks. Or … because our current generation is so into technology and apps on their cell phones, et cetera, maybe we can do online training videos, apps if you will — learn on your phone for a particular skill that you’re going to need to keep that job.

“So, it’s really a new, new world in education, but it’s clearly a vital new world.”

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