In this podcast, Brock Dickinson, an Adjunct Professor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence with the University of Waterloo, asks the question “how we do prepare students and workers for this new reality where big data and artificial intelligence (AI) have reshaped the world of economic development?” A major distinction between capitalism and socialism has always been over the notion of who owns the means of production. Brock dives into how AI and automation transformed not just the manufacturing sector, but professional occupations and industries.
This episode features an interview with Earl Anthony Wayne, An accomplished diplomat and executive, Ambassador Wayne has served in a wide variety of positions during his career, including as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and Argentina, Deputy Ambassador in Afghanistan, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe. In this episode, he discusses where the U.S. ranks when it comes to preparing for the workforce challenges of tomorrow, the skills that workers will need, and the need to understand the global supply chain.
Kevin Stolarick is a Visiting Researcher and Provocateur at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada and a Senior Research Associate at the Diversity Institute at Ryerson University. Dubbed the “Official Statistician of the Creative Class”, Kevin combines expertise on cities, inclusion, urbanization, statistics, design, and economic development with an appreciation of the importance of finding and sharing the knowledge or “pearls of wisdom” gained from leveraging his research, writing, management and organizational skills.
In this episode of Workforce Central Canada, Kevin and Ron discuss micro-credentials, the future of work, the economics of diversity and inclusion in work, and more.
• Micro credentials are increasingly useful way to demonstrate to employers you have the skills they want. Credentials should be transferrable to allow learners to transfer them from one employer to another.
• Post-secondary education may have a limited lifespan because there are other more efficient ways to gain skills.
• Not recognizing the prior learning of many Canadian immigrants greatly limits their employment opportunities.
• Kevin touches on the positive effects of diversity and inclusion on economic development.
Ron is joined by Simon Chan VP, Talent, Academy and Future of Work at Communitech and Christine Robinson Head of Human Resources at Manulife to discuss taking a human-centered and community based approach to tackling the future of work. Communitech and Manulife have partnered in Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada to lead the formation of a community coalition of stakeholders (private sector, academia, and government) which is the first of its kind in Canada to address the challenges posed by the disruptive trends impacting the workforce. In their process they convened community meetings, interviewed workers, held workshops, and crowdsourced community based solutions for those likely to be impacted by these upcoming changes. They also shared their vision for how this innovative community based approach could be scaled to other communities with the ultimate goal of building healthy organizations and resilient communities.
Lisa Taylor is President of Challenge Factory and the Center of Career Innovation. She is the co-author of The Talent Revolution. Through case studies, metrics, strategies, and tactics, The Talent Revolution explores the impact of workforce demographics on the future of work and provides new, actionable strategies for turning an aging workforce into a competitive advantage.
•Employees are not just an asset but are rather the greatest source of equity.
•Five drivers are shaping the world of work: demographics and longevity, career ownership, the freelance economy, new business models, AI robotics
•When older workers are engaged in ways that leverage their experience and knowledge, youth unemployment drops.
•The best way to adapt as our workforce continues to grow and advance is to address how we deal with those who have been in the workforce the longest.
Bob Magee, Chairman of Woodbridge group and Vice Chair of Canada’s Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster, joins Ron to discuss the ever-changing manufacturing industry and workforce.
-Advanced manufacturing is becoming increasingly digitized and computerized, but workers are needed to operate, program and maintain those computers and robots.
-Manufacturing employers are looking for employees who have strong digital skills.
-A shortage of employees in the manufacturing field today is a challenge for employers.
-Partnering with public schools and community colleges to interest them in manufacturing is a smart way for employers to find new talent.
Steven Tobin, Labour Market Information Council in Canada, Executive Director
• The LMIC’s mandate is to improve the timeliness, reliability and accessibility of labor market information to improve decision-making by employers, workers, jobseekers, academics, educators, career practitioners, students, parents and under-represented populations.
• Information includes not just wages, but also market skills requirements, and current and future job openings.
• Education still matters, but we need to do a better job at specifying the skills associated with jobs. 30% of Canadians have an education greater than what is typically required of the job they hold.
NAWB’s Ron Painter speaks with Jake Hirsch-Allen, Economic Graph and Learning Solutions for Higher Education and Workforce Development, Canada.
• The Economic Graph is a digital representation of the global economy based on over 590 million members, 50 thousand skills, 30 million companies, 20 million open jobs, and 84 thousand schools. In short: it’s all the data on LinkedIn. Through mapping every member, company, job, and school, we’re able to spot trends like talent migration, hiring rates, and in-demand skills by region. These insights help us connect people to economic opportunity in new ways. And by partnering with governments and organizations around the world, we help them better connect people to opportunities.
• Employers are increasing recognizing skills and previous tasks rather than credentials and degrees when assessing candidates.
• LinkedIn Learning ( with Lynda.com) is a database of skills that is helping workforces upskill or transition careers.
• IT skills in fields such as data science and cybersecurity are becoming more and more in-demand as human and foundation skills remain most important
• At this time, it is difficult to predict the effect of automation, but it may create different types of jobs that don’t exist now which will inevitably require lifelong learning of these skills
Sarah Watts Rynard joins NAWB's Ron Painter in discussing how Canada's polytechnic institutes are preparing students for in-demand jobs with practical training.
Polytechnics Canada: www.polytechnicscanada.ca/
•People need to acquire new skills and comfortability with technology to adapt to changing workplaces and careers.
•Businesses should play a more active role in skill development and connecting to outside students during their educational phase.
•Polytechnics are well suited for career prep because they offer apprenticeships, certificates, 2- or 4-year degrees that suit a variety of careers.
•Competency based admission programs are experimenting with considering candidate portfolios rather than just grades.
•Educational outcomes are becoming more focused on skills than on what students can do, rather than on what knowledge they can recite.
Episode 2: Becoming FutureFit: AI-powered Up(Re)skilling in the age of AI-driven automation with Hamoon Ekhtiari
In this podcast NAWB President Ron Painter is joined by Hamoon Ekhtiari of Audacious Futures. They discuss the looking at the future of work and learning as well as what companies need to consider in strategic decision making when thinking about the future of work.
• Organizations need to forecast and prepare for the future of their business, including workforce needs. Employers need to change their mindsets in how they assess skills and credentials for necessary for jobs.
• It’s not just skills, but networks and experiences, that lead to future ready careers.
• We often focus on things that will change rather than timeless and predictable factors that tend not to change.
• Organizations need to look at trends 20 to 30 years from now and then zoom in to plan high-speed learning sprints in the next 6-18mths
• Future Fit AI, an Audacious Futures project, is building the Google Maps for the future of work. It identified skills and careers for the future, assesses your career and learning goals, and presents multiple options with estimated time and cost to achieve those goals
Episode 1: Experiences in Workforce Development with Devone Holt and Tim Foster of Rescare Workforce Services, Kelly Hoey of HIEC, and Trudy Parsons
In this very first episode of Workforce Central Canada, host Ron Painter, NAWB CEO, is joined by Devone Holt and Tim Foster of Rescare Workforce Services, Kelly Hoey of HIEC, and Trudy Parsons of MDB Insight. Together they talked about their experiences in workforce development.