MCC report outlines impact of digital industrial technologies
Monroe Community College’s Economic and Workforce Development Center has released Future of the Technician Workforce Study, which discusses the potential impacts of current and emerging digital industrial technologies, also known as Industry 4.0, on the Finger Lakes region over the next five to 10 years. The study draws on input from more than 100 industry professionals at 80 businesses.
The report examines how Industry 4.0 and transformative technologies are likely to change businesses’ operations and technician job functions in four key industry sectors: manufacturing and automation, information technology, health care, and human resources and professional services. It also explores the roles of employers and community colleges in supporting the region’s new generation of technician workers.
Some of the Industry 4.0 applications include industrial internet of things, additive manufacturing, automation and robotics, data analytics/data science, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, advanced process control and mechatronics. Across all four sectors, the study says, these major technology areas shape the future of industry and determine the skill sets employers most want in their workers. A 17-minute “Careers of the Future” film, produced for MCC, narrates how six regional employers are harnessing technology—including augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and big data—to increase efficiency and enhance operations.
“While certain job functions will cease to exist, many will be augmented by Industry 4.0, and others will emerge with entirely new roles and responsibilities,” the study projects.
Cybersecurity tools are among the technologies identified as having the most transformative impact on the key industry sectors over the next decade. “The growth of sensor technology adoption and the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) networked devices,” the study says, “will require technicians skilled in the use and implementation of cybersecurity tools to reduce cyber vulnerabilities and prevent the exposure of personal or business-sensitive information.”
The study identifies future technological competencies, knowledge and skills of the technician workforce required by regional employers across multiple industry sectors. It also suggests a range of Industry 4.0 credentials that would qualify future technicians for competitive careers.
The report will serve as a road map for regional workforce development and will inform current and future academic programs at MCC, including the development of the Finger Lakes Workforce Development Center at the Downtown Campus. Upon completion, the 50,000-square-foot state-of-the-art center will offer short-term and accelerated training programs that meet the evolving workforce demands of the region’s industries.
The workshop and study were funded by a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.