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Sarah Boisvert, an author of, The New Collar Workforce: An Insider’s Guide to Making Impactful Changes to Manufacturing and Training, discusses her research, her new book, and the skills needed to operate in new industries such as AI, 3D printing, and robotics.

Boisvert talks about the motivations and inspirations that led to her latest project, and the writing of her book, The New Collar Workforce. As she explains, upon selling her laser machine tool company, she took up research residence at a lab at MIT where she began to interact with other researchers and expand her interest in the processes and learning necessary to use digital fabrication tools, and others. Boisvert was most interested in methods to expand the skills gap for new disruptive industries.

As the manufacturing and tech author states, many skills that modern workers have and were hired for will no longer be needed in the coming future as tech expands. She explains how new technologies such as 3D printing are evolving rapidly. She cites examples of how new technologies will not have the benefit of calling on experienced veterans of the industry for help with machines and tech when problems arise because the technologies are evolving so quickly that everyone is new to them. Thus, in regard to servicing, the new technicians will have to be adaptable and have the ability to troubleshoot at the moment. They’ll need to be problem solvers in order to stay afloat in an ever-changing technology space.

Boisvert talks about how people of different ages will be able to function in a vastly changing economy. She discusses automation and the kinds of jobs that may be disappearing in the next five to ten years or so. As she explains, there will be a significant shift, and those with transferable skills will thrive the most. The education model has to change from lecture to development and cognitive thinking types of skills. As the blacksmith job gave way to the production line, so will our current economy and the ways we utilize new skills. Wrapping up, the author discusses what’s on the horizon for her and her lab.

Boisvert’s in-depth interviews with over 200 U.S. manufacturers enabled her to see that a paradigm shift is going to be necessary in order to return good paying manufacturing careers to middle-class Americans.

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