3:15 pm EST – Lifelong Learning: Anticipating Your Next Career Shift

One key for the auto industry to be able to advance in the era of electric and automated vehicles is to recruit enough people with the right skills to fill the estimated half-million new jobs in the United States that will be created by this revolution, panelists today agreed during the AutoMobili-D program at the 2019 North American International Auto Show.

The role of community colleges in tackling this challenge emerged as crucial in the discussion of “Lifelong Learning: Anticipating Your Next Career Shift.”

For example, Rose Bellanca, president and CEO of Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich., noted that her school is responding to the need for additional skill sets that has been presented by the auto industry. As a result, several years ago the college opened a $10-milloin Advanced Transportation Center, to provide technician training and certifications and degrees of various lengths.

Doug Smith, executive director of workforce development and lifelong learning for Oakland Community College, in Farmington Hills, Mich., added, “The skills gap is what we’re trying to tackle,” Smith said. “Community colleges are the right places to tackle that, by working closely with K-12 school sytems and four-year institutions.

Building awareness among young careerists of the needs for technology and technician skills in the auto industry as it adapts to the era of electrification and mobility also is important, Smith said.

“One of the big battles we all face is awareness … about STEM careers and that manufacturing now is actually high-tech,” Smith said.

One example of the college’s approach to that issue, he said, was a recent gathering at the Suburban Collection of auto dealerships in Troy, Mich., where employers put on demonstration projects to educate young attendees about careers in their business. About 8,000 youngsters attended, Smith said.