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Education Must Prepare Students for Automated Future



According to Stephen Spinelli, Jr., PhD, co-founder of Jiffy Lube and chancellor of Thomas Jefferson University, technology is transforming virtually every job in every industry, and nearly one million Americans will see their occupations vanish entirely by 2026.

The good news is that for all the jobs that will be lost to automation in the next 13 years, hundreds of millions of new jobs will be created in response to emerging economies, aging populations, and technology development. The challenge is to prepare students for these trends and to anticipate others that will define work in the future.

In order to survive, those entering the workforce must adapt and develop new skills to meet the demands of the marketplace. This puts a heavy burden on the nation’s colleges and universities, which must lead the way in preparing students for professions of the future.

“Is our higher education system ready for the challenge? The answer is no—at least not yet,” Spinelli says. “Higher education must focus squarely on developing the skills students need to succeed in a rapidly evolving job market.”

Spinelli says that increasing automation is a “clarion call for a revolution in higher education.”

“If we do our job as educators, we will prepare students to work in symphony with technology, rather than in competition with it. If we only meet the current needs of society, we will leave our students behind.”