IN A report that almost seems unnecessary, the World Economic Forum reported in September that machines will overtake humans in terms of performing more tasks in the workplace by 2025 -- to the tune of up to almost 75 million jobs being displaced.
It's not all discouraging, though, as the report says 133 million new jobs could be created by companies in transition. Those jobs will require new skills and technical and vocational training for workers.
Locally, John Wood Community College and the Quincy Area Vocational Technical Center are rising to meet the challenge of training a next-generation workforce.
John Wood Community College President Mike Elbe knows that vocational training will be key to meeting the needs of future employers, and the college has been busy expanding its offerings.
"We are listening to our business and industry partners and advisory councils to determine what their needs are (in specific) skills for our workforce," Elbe told The Herald-Whig.
One example of the college working to meet the needs of local companies was the creation of a new HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) certificate program that debuts later this year. It was developed in conjunction with an advisory council made up of eight local businesses and other experts to develop HVAC-specific courses, identify internship sites and acquire equipment necessary to deliver the program.
QAVTC, which was established in 1973, caters to students from the Quincy, Quincy Notre Dame, Central, Griggsville-Perry, Liberty, Payson, Pittsfield, Pleasant Hill, Southeastern, Unity Western and Brown County districts. QAVTC classes also are available to adults.
QAVTC is designed to provide career and technical education programs that can assist students finding their niche in the workforce.
Quincy Public Schools Superintendent Roy Webb told The Herald-Whig that the center serves an important role in the community.
"There are a lot of (positions) needed right here in the community; jobs with a great wage and a fulfilling career," Webb said.
Both organizations are vital to the region's economic prospects. While the need for professionals still will exist, a growing proportion of available jobs will be in vocational careers.
Developing a skilled workforce that is able to meet the needs of businesses has become a key economic development strategy, and having training programs such as those offered by JWCC and QAVTC will continue to help the region be a key player in attracting and retaining businesses.
Both organizations are to be commended for their forward-looking efforts, and we encourage their continued support from community members.