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National Research Council (US) Center for Education. Research on Future Skill Demands: A Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2008.

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Research on Future Skill Demands: A Workshop Summary.

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AWorkshop Agenda

Workshop on Research Evidence Related to Future Skill Demands

May 31–June 1, 2007

Thursday, May 31

8:00 a.m.Working Breakfast and Welcome
8:30Michael Feuer, DBASSE
Martin Orland, Center for Education
Bruce Fuchs, National Institutes of Health
Eric Wanner, Russell Sage Foundation
Workshop Goals and Context
Richard Murnane, Harvard Graduate School of Education, moderator
8:45Debates About United States Workforce Skills and Competitiveness
David Finegold, Rutgers University
Questions and discussion
9:10The Current Labor Market
Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania, moderator
9:15Overview of Occupational Projections to 2014
Dixie Sommers, Bureau of Labor Statistics
9:30 Response: Sam Leiken, Council on Competitiveness
9:35Presentation on Polarization in the U.S. Labor Market
David Autor, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
9:50 Response: Janis Houston, Personnel Decisions Research Institutes
9:55 Discussion among presenters and discussants
10:10 Questions from the steering committee and audience
10:25Moderator reflections
Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania, moderator
10:35Break
10:50Skill Demands of Knowledge Work
Beth Bechky, University of California-Davis, moderator
Guiding Questions for Session
  • What are “knowledge workers”? How many people are employed in these occupations and how are these occupations projected to grow over the next decade?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the available research on skill demands among knowledge workers?
  • What does the available research tell us about factors that may affect the future skill demands of knowledge occupations generally, and biotechnology occupations in particular?
  • What does the available research tell us about current and projected future skill demands among knowledge workers?
  • What types of broad skills, such as technical/scientific, cognitive, and communications skills—if any—appear to be most in demand?
  • What are the implications for education, including continuing education, of knowledge workers?
11:00The Knowledge Worker and the Future Skill Demands of the U.S. Workforce
Asaf Darr, University of Haifa
11:05 Response: Ken Kay, Partnership for 21st Century Skills
11:10Future Skill Demands in Biotechnology
Fiona Murray, MIT
11:25 Response: David Finegold, Rutgers University
11:30 Discussion among presenters and discussants
11:45 Questions from the steering committee and audience
12:00 p.m.Moderator reflections
Beth Bechky, University of California-Davis
12:10Working Lunch
The Globalization of Knowledge Work
Martin Kenney, University of California-Davis
Questions and discussion
1:20Skill Demands in Growing Service Sector Jobs
Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania, moderator
Guiding Questions for Session
  • How many people are employed in nonprofessional service sector occupations and how are these occupations projected to grow over the next decade?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the available research on skill demands of nonprofessional service-sector workers?
  • What does qualitative research tell us about the skill demands of elder care occupations?
  • What does the available research tell us about factors that may affect the future skill demands of service sector jobs generally, and elder care jobs in particular?
  • In those settings where skill demands have increased, what types of skills are most in demand, including both technical and general/transferable skills?
  • What are the implications for continuing education of current service sector workers, including elder care workers? What opportunities do they have to develop new skills, through internal job ladders and training systems or access to external education providers, such as community colleges?
  • What are the implications for K-12 education of future service workers?
  • What are the implications for education of managers of service workers?
1:25Future Skill Demands of Service Work
Mary Gatta, Rutgers University
1:40 Response: David Autor, MIT
1:45Future Skill Demands in Elder Care
Chris Wellin, Miami University
2:00 Response: Peter Kemper, Pennsylvania State University
2:05 Discussion among presenters and discussants
2:25 Questions from steering committee and audience and general discussion
2:45Moderator reflections
Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania
2:55Break
3:10Promising Methods for Studying Future Skills
Guiding Questions for Session
  • What questions about possible future skill demands can we answer now?
  • What questions remain unanswered?
  • What kinds of data and resources do we need to help answer questions about future skill demands?
Christopher Sager, University of Central Florida, moderator
3:15The Feasibility of Using O*NET Data to Study Changes Over Time in Workforce Skill Demands
Suzanne Tsacoumis, Human Resources Research Organization
3:30Projecting the Impact of Computers on Work in 2030
Stuart Elliott, Center for Education
3:45 Response: Kenneth Spenner, Duke University
3:55Survey of Skills, Technology, and Management Practices
Michael Handel, Northeastern University
4:10 Response: Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
4:15 Discussion among presenters and respondents
4:30 Questions from steering committee and audience
4:45Moderator reflections
Christopher Sager, University of Central Florida, moderator
5:00Adjourn Day 1

Friday, June 1

8:00 a.m.Working Breakfast: Discussion of Future Skill Demand
Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina, moderator
8:25 Reflections on Emerging Skill Demand (from Day 1), Arne Kalleberg
8:45 Panel discussion of skill supply and demand
Guiding Questions for Panel Discussion
  • What is known about the future supply of skills in the United States (including demographic trends, trends in educational attainment, and immigration trends) and what remains unknown?
  • Are there possible gaps or mismatches between projected future skill demands and the future skill supply, based on what is known?
  • What is known about the dynamics of the labor market and the economy, including possible responses to any skill shortfalls and/or to any increases in the supply of skills?
  • Are policy interventions (e.g., improvements in education, changes in immigration law) needed to balance skill supply and demand?

Panelists
  • Peter Cappelli, University of Pennsylvania
  • Harry Holzer, Georgetown University and the Urban Institute
  • B. Lindsay Lowell, Georgetown University
9:30 Questions from steering committee and audience
9:45Moderator reflections
Arne Kalleberg, University of North Carolina
9:55Break
10:10Implications for Education and Training
David Finegold, Rutgers University, moderator
Guiding Questions for Panel Discussion
  • What forms of education and/or workplace training are likely to be most effective in addressing future skills gaps or mismatches?
  • Can we distinguish between skills that are best developed in education and those that are best developed on the job?
  • How can research on future skill demands/skills gaps be used to inform curriculum development?
  • If the supply of skills changes, independent of demand, will this affect the future design of jobs and the skills jobs require? (For example, will improving the science and math skills of the workforce lead to creation of more high-skill jobs?)

Panelists
  • Susan Traiman, Business Roundtable
  • Peter McWalters, Rhode Island Commissioner of Education
  • Paul Osterman, MIT Sloan School of Management
  • Tom Bailey, Columbia University
10:15 Opening comments from panelists (5 minutes)
10:35 Panel discussion
11:00 Questions from steering committee and audience
11:15Moderator reflections
David Finegold, Rutgers University
11:25Lessons Learned and Next Steps
Richard Murnane, Harvard Graduate School of Education, moderator
Guiding Questions for Session
  • What have we learned over the past day and a half about the strengths and weaknesses of the available research on future skill demands?
  • What support does the research provide for the proposition that future skill demands will be significantly higher than at present, either generally or within groups of jobs, such as knowledge workers and service workers?
  • What support does the research provide for the proposition that major changes in education and training are required to meet future skill demands? What types of changes may be required?
  • What questions remain unanswered, both about future skill demands and education and training required to meet those demands?
  • What further research or studies are needed to answer these unanswered questions?

Moderator reflections
Richard Murnane, Harvard Graduate School of Education
11:40Working Lunch and Steering Committee Reflections
12:30 p.m. Audience questions, comments, and final observations
12:45Adjourn
Copyright © 2008, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK4066
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