How Education Is Changing To Market Demands

Written by: Andrew Jason
Photo courtesy of Prime

There is a well-reported stat that says that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Because of the rapidly changing nature of technology and the impact it will have on almost every industry, it’s important to educate today’s kids and workforce for these future jobs. There’s also a saying that every company needs to become a software company or it will be disrupted by one and that is shaping out to be true. With education being so important for the future of work, that begs the question, how can we train employees to fill that workforce?

Prime Digital Academy in Minneapolis is reshaping the way that education is being done and Co-Founder Mike Derheim has some ideas on how we can upskill our current workforce to meet those future jobs.

About Prime Academy

Prime Digital Academy was founded in 2014 as a way to address the talent shortage in technology and to get more people from diverse backgrounds into entry-level jobs in technology. With two different courses in full stack engineering and user experience design, their 20-week courses give hands-on work with practical skills to enter the 21st-century workforce. In fact, Minnesota was recently named the fastest growing state for tech jobs in America with an expected 200,000 new jobs created in Minnesota in the next decade.

With their campuses in Minneapolis and the newly opened one in Kansas City, their roughly 800 graduates have been hired by almost 400 companies in Minneapolis. Those graduates come from a diverse background. What’s exciting about this is that it is bringing new people into the tech space and they are also bringing their backgrounds with them.

“Often, we’re taking people who have been in the workforce for some period of time,” said Derheim. “It could be that they’re a waiter or waitress, barista, someone who has spent years as a laborer on a farm or operating some piece of equipment and we bring them into technology. They’re bringing all that experience from the context of what it was like to do that job before.”

The idea is that bringing new people into the tech space will also bring new ideas and innovations, which is imperative to the future of automation and technology.

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Photo courtesy of Prime

Automation is Coming

The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University published a report looking at how automation will affect different industries and communities. According to the study, small cities will have higher portions of their workforce replaced by machines rather than large cities. This is because larger cities have positions that are more easily automated (like card dealers, fishermen, cashiers and accountants) while larger cities have more managerial and knowledge professions (like lawyers, scientists and software developers.) However, automation will affect each industry differently. They found that mid-level jobs are the most likely to be automated whereas jobs like CEOs, CFOs and similar jobs will still remain. What’s interesting though is that very low-end positions like janitors will be the last to be automated. This is because that position is cheap and automation requires capital so companies don’t have as much incentive to automate it.

So what does Derheim think about the way we should be approaching this?

“It’s to get out in front of this kind of technological wave that is crashing into every industry in the world,” said Derheim. “I hadn’t thought too much about how the impact will be different in a place like Fargo versus a place like Minneapolis, but there’s certainly some logic to what they’re saying. I think that it would be smart for communities to take the approach of figuring out how to get in front of this and how to get our workforce trained and ready to evolve so that those jobs aren’t moving out.”

Photo courtesy of Prime


Q: When your average Joe Schmoe thinks of automation, I’m sure the first thing that comes to their mind is jobs being replaced by machines. How do you think that we, the public, should be looking at automation? How should we embrace it and be ready for that change?
A: The reality is that automation is coming to almost every industry, although I don’t think we are going to go from zero to 100 percent fully automated overnight. It’s an evolution that is going to happen, though, and quicker than most people think. We are living at a time where the technology is advancing so quickly and the economic bene ts are so high – that it’s inevitable. I believe that trying to put o that inevitable future is futile and that we should instead spend our time embracing and preparing for the change.

I think a better way to think about it is that, with this change, Joe Schmoe’s job is also going to be changed. There is going to be a lot more people involved in technology and technology- focused careers. The idea – and one of the pillars of Grand Farm – is upskilling the workforce. I think embracing the fact that technology is going to be a big part of your working life and your career over a number of years as automation continues to change the way we do business. Embracing that idea and doing things like going to a program like Prime or brushing up somehow on the side to get yourself ready for that, I think that’s just smart. Think about just accepting the reality that this stuff is coming and you need to figure out how to be ready for it so that you can evolve with the world.

Photo courtesy of Prime

Q: Obviously, Minneapolis is different from Fargo and Fargo is different from a rural town like Langdon, North Dakota. How does that rural setting of North Dakota affect everything that we’re talking about here? How can rural communities embrace and adapt to these things?
A: The story is the same in a lot of ways. The overall point that I would make is that technology is moving extremely fast right now. Faster than it’s moved in as long as I can remember. I’ve been in the industry for 20 years and the momentum is building, not falling. Everything from co ee shops to a million-acre farm, the technology is impacting every one of those organizations and whether it’s a rural community or a larger metropolitan area, I think that finding pragmatic solutions and ways of getting people ready for that evolution instead of waiting for it to sort of happen organically is the answer to keeping people in the communities that they’re in.

For example, communities like Langdon probably have pretty limited options if they need technology talent or any other expertise that doesn’t exist there. I can imagine that it’s pretty di cult for them to recruit people from other areas to move to Langdon for one of those positions. Places like that should consider taking the initiative to figure out what skills are necessary for their town’s future and get people who are already living there up to speed. Those opportunities, if they exist, can keep people firmly planted in the community they are proud of and allow it to thrive.

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