Three Reasons to Commit to Lifelong Learning

It’s no secret that earning a certification is challenging and time-consuming, and I am often asked by colleagues about what motivated me and why I think this kind of lifelong learning is worth my time. Three reasons come to mind. Read them here…

Apprenticeships: Good idea or fool’s gold?

Waterloo Courier Opinion

We’ve agreed apprenticeships — along with community college training programs — can help fill the gap between thousands of good available jobs and workers with the skills to fill them. But caveats exist.

Recent studies indicate apprenticeships alone won’t solve a multifaceted problem ranging from the need for better general education and lifelong learning to extricating young males from video games.

Imagine Lifelong Learning Land

By Carl Francis Penders

Stories change. People’s stories. Cities’ stories. “I’m from Buffalo … So I picked Buffalo,” said Dennis Galucki, a man set on imagining a new Buffalo story, intending to “infuse” Buffalo with the lifelong learning culture he has discovered at the Chautauqua Institution. Galucki calls it the Buffalo-Chautauqua Idea.

Circus camp teaches perseverance

This summer, kids spent a week learning juggling, plate spinning, tight-wire walking, stilt walking, acrobatics, clowning and more, all of which they performed for a group of family and friends.

But the real purpose went beyond putting on a show. It was all about lifelong learning…

Community Ed thrives in Burnett County

The term education does not solely apply to universities. Many communities, our own included, offer what is called community education. And, in Burnett County, this education is on the rise.  

“It is rewarding to work with people interested in growing and continuing to improve themselves and learn. Obviously, if you are an adult and taking classes it is because you want to be there. No one is making you show up. And, you are usually there to solve a problem in your life, learn a new skill and do something for yourself,” said Swenson.

98-year-old models lifelong learning

Every Tuesday a dozen children spend time with a woman who just might be the perfect example of lifelong learning.

Every Tuesday afternoon, 98-year-old Fran Salem drives her little red car from her Harmonsburg-area home to the school to spend about an hour reading and talking with children attending the school’s child care school-age summer program. The children know her as “Miss Fran” or sometimes even “Granny Fran.”–year-old/article_a2678f34-77c7-11e7-9b4b-335c62042c7e.html

Automation = Lifelong Learning

According to University of Oxford researchers, 47 percent of workers may  be at risk of losing their jobs to automation, in particular those in mid-skilled retail jobs, and office workers like cashiers and telemarketers. A recent McKinsey report predicted that a smaller percentage of jobs would be at risk of being completely replaced by machines, but pointed out that the majority of jobs would see some of their tasks replaced by automation.

In other words, we’re all going to feel the impact of AI in some way. And our skills aren’t keeping pace.

The sheer number of both soft skills and technical skills already required by most modern companies is exploding. At the same time, the skills people do pick up remain relevant for a shorter and shorter amount of time. AI only accelerates this trend. We’ve crossed a threshold where the timed obsolescence for skills is shorter than for a single career.

The message: People need to adapt faster than ever. And this could have enormous consequences, including widespread unemployment and devastating disruptions for parts of the global economy.

One easily imaginable scenario: In the United States, there are approximately 3.5 million truck drivers. Suppose a truck company could retrofit a truck for $30,000 to make it into a reliable, safe autonomous vehicle. That would be a one-time cost, and the cost would be less than the annual salary of a truck driver. Once that scenario became possible, the industry would likely overhaul its fleet extremely rapidly.

The future? It’s no longer “plastics.”

That scene in “The Graduate” notwithstanding, no one knows what will be big in the future.

“We live in a world where everybody’s knowledge becomes obsolete in six months.”

And you won’t be doing the same things to earn a living the rest of your life.

The answer? Lifelong learning.