NAE Workshop on the Adaptability of the U.S. Engineering and Technical Workforce

Post Meeting
November 28, 2017 AT 10:51 AM
Thursday, Nov 02, 2017
  • 07:00 PM To 09:00 PM
    Dinner and Keynote speaker
Friday, Nov 03, 2017
  • 08:30 AM To 08:45 AM
    Welcome and Introduction
  • 08:45 AM To 10:15 AM
    Panel #1 Case for change: Why adaptability matters
  • 10:30 AM To 12:00 PM
    Panel #2 What does adaptability look like
  • 12:30 PM To 01:15 PM
    Session: Analytics/measurement (what are analytics and how are they used to make decisions on adaptability
  • 01:15 PM To 02:45 PM
    Session: Company and higher education activities - training and organizational change
  • 03:00 PM To 04:30 PM
    Session: How K-12 education and out-of-school learning opportunities can help foster adaptability
  • 04:30 PM To 04:55 PM
    Plenary Session: Opportunities and next steps
  • 04:55 PM To 05:00 PM
    Wrap up and concluding thoughts

On November 2 and 3, over 80 experts gathered at the National Academy of Science building in Washington DC for a workshop on Preparing the Engineering and Technical Workforce for Adaptability and Resilience to Change. This National Academy of Engineering workshop examined a number of aspects of workforce adaptability and resilience, including individual, organizational, and educational factors.

The workshop springs from the earlier NAE report Making Value for America: Embracing the Future of Manufacturing, Technology, and Work. That report described how globalization, developments in technology, and new business models are transforming the way products and services are conceived, designed, made, and distributed. According to some estimates, half of all jobs in the United States may be ripe for disruption. Even if a job is not eliminated due to these shifts, many activities that constitute that job may be transformed. In addition, the skill base of the existing engineering and technical workforce will be dramatically changed due to this rapid transformation. Workers will be faced with the need to constantly renew and learn new skills as jobs and work activities change.

The workshop focused on the challenges facing the workforce in light of these dramatic changes in the production process. The workshop served to increase understanding and awareness of the importance of workforce adaptability to key stakeholders, including increasing understanding of the definition and characteristics of adaptability. It also provided an opportunity to share known best practices for fostering adaptability, including identification of barriers and multiple pathways for overcoming those barriers. As important, it helped to identify needs for future study and development.

A workshop Proceeding, summarizing the discussions, will be published in the near future.

If you have any questions about the project or workshop, please contact the Project Director, Dr. Ken Jarboe at

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