At RealClearPolicy former Deputy Secretary and Acting Secretary for the U.S. Department of Labor Seth Harris remarks on other countries’ programs to align their peoples with the jobs that will be available in the future:
Consider Singapore, which launched the SkillsFuture program in 2016 to make career-focused education and skills training more accessible for individuals at every stage of their career. The program provides financial incentives, targeted training courses, and career assessment services to foster lifelong learning and skill mastery across the entirety of every Singaporean’s career. Or the French Personal Training Account (Compte personnel de formation), which all private and public-sector employees and job seekers use to track work hours, which turn into credits for vocational and professional training schemes. Better known are the vocational education and apprenticeship programs that have made countries like Switzerland and Germany darlings of the workforce development discourse.
I’m skeptical that there’s a relationship between education in any form and preparing for future work, other than in credentialization. You can prepare for present work but not for future work other than in the broadest possible terms.
I’m also skeptical that there’s much of a relationship between how much is spent on education and future prospects. If there is, Americans have little to worry about. We spend more per student than any other country in the world and the most overall per student than any country other than Norway.
The one thing about which I do not think we should worry much is that the “robots are coming for our jobs”. What will be true is that automation will change jobs in ways we cannot predict.