By Dick Pelletier
A recent World Future Society report states that technology is
definitely a job killer. The whole idea of tools, machines, and
systems is to do things easier, faster, or better than barehanded
humans can. Industry, by its very nature, out-sources itself.
Businesses are quick to adopt new technologies that reduce
operation costs. While this practice usually results in eliminating
some jobs, it often creates new higher-paid opportunities that
require new skills. A recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report
predicted the highest employment demands between now and 2020 will
be in healthcare, education, accounting, and computer services; and
these jobs will require Internet-proficient employees skilled in
computer security, databases, privacy, and new media.
Baby boomers held an average of 10 jobs between ages 18 and 38,
according to government statistics. These career jumpers continue
to take short-duration jobs even as they approach middle age: 70%
of jobs started between ages 33 and 39 ended within five years.
Most people will experience five or six careers during their
lifetime, and many will study for their next occupation, while
working their current job.
Career consultant Eileen Gunn, author of Your Career Is an
Extreme Sport offers the following tips on how today’s workforce
can stay competitive:
1) Become aware of popular technologies. Know the difference
between instant messaging and text messaging; participate in blogs
and read newsfeeds relevant to your field. Social networking
websites can also help you land a new job or scope out potential
customers. Your own website might be worth the trouble if there’s a
lot of personal work for you to showcase. (cont.)
Marshall Brain, founder of How Stuff Works, gave a presentation on how robots can easily eliminate half the workforce of the United States fairly soon.
He said that by 2042 there will be $500 desktop computers with computing power equal to the human brain. We can then put this into a robot which will have the power to do jobs that millions of people hold today. Robots can easily take over education, transportation, construction and retail jobs.
Walmart alone has over 1.2 million employees, performing easy jobs. If robots take the jobs, “a million jobs at Walmart will evaporate.”
But what about the job market?
6.5 million in construction will be gone. 16.4 million in manufacturing will be gone. Retail/wholesale will lose 20 million jobs. Drivers will lose 3 million jobs. Education to lose 2 million.
“Half the jobs in the economy right now we can see robots taking over.”
He ended with the question displayed “What if 50-million people became unemployed?” He then said “there is no doubt these jobs will be gone fairly soon.” We have to start modifying our economy to deal with the mass unemployed.
SolarWorld has opened North America’s largest solar cell manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. The facility is expected to reach a capacity of 500 megawatts (MW) by 2011.
Oregon’s Cleantech / ‘Green’ Jobs
The cloud covered Pacific Northwest is not the first place one might think of ideal for a solar manufacturing base. But there is tremendous local talent in technology and higher end manufacturing. The region is ideal for German-based SolarWorld.
The company and Oregon leaders are hoping to tap growth in the solar industry as it grows to $74 billion in 2017 from $20
billion in 2007, according to a projection by Clean Edge Inc., a market research firm focused on clean technology.
SolarWorld’s 480,000 square foot facility will develop integrated solar silicon wafer and solar cell production facility will fuel this burgeoning market. The company expects to employ 1,000 people at the Hillsboro, Oregon facility by 2011.
Headquartered in Germany and founded in 1977, SolarWorld has production facilities in Germany and the United States,
including in California, Oregon and Washington, and is establishing a joint venture for module production in South Korea. The company delivers its products to market from sales offices in Germany, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and the United States.