With exponential advancement in technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, the entire labor market will change.
Hugh Herr: The new bionics that let us run, climb and dance 

While many current jobs and tasks will disappear, labor markets will adjust to changes in demand for workers; eight to nine percent of 2030 labor demand will be in new types of occupations that haven’t yet been invented. Rising incomes and consumption, new technology creation, investment in infrastructure and new energy also all point to economic growth, which points to job growth. We should act to ensure individuals with different abilities and other barriers are included in this sea change. 


Work is more than a paycheck; it is self-sustainability, independent living, family support, pride, dignity, and equality.


Now is the time to be a driving force for change and create inclusive pipelines to the future state of work. This opportunity could be seized to ensure training in skills and technology deployment are complimentary. 

With the exponential advancement in technologies like artificial intelligence and robotics, the entire labor market will change. Companies are seeing the labor costs they could save, and the output increase they could gain, and are already adopting technologies that majorly impact processes, products, and labor. 50% of current work activities are automatable with currently demonstrated technologies, and six out of ten current occupations have more than 30% of activities that are automatable (McKinsey and Company 2019). An impact projection estimates up to 54 million people in the US will be displaced from their work by 2030 (McKinsey and Company 2019). 


Millions of people may need to switch occupations or upgrade skills to remain employable in this fourth industrial revolution, but individuals with different abilities will be disproportionately impacted. Individuals with barriers to employment are more concentrated in service, production, transportation, and material moving occupations (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019). Because of the level of predictable physical work in these sectors, particularly in entry- and part-time positions, there is a higher technical feasibility for automation. 


One in four adults in the United States have a different ability (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2018). Yet, the employment-population ratio was only 19.1% for persons with different abilities in 2018 (US Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019). Coupled with the swings in types of jobs available in the coming years, this number could decline even further.


While there are workforce development programs targeted at individuals with barriers, we have not seen major progress in employment, and none are proactively preparing for this impending change. 

Read more from experts in the field:

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  • The 4th Industrial Revolution Is Here - Are You Ready?

    We’re on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. It’s quite different than the three Industrial Revolutions that preceded it—steam and water power, electricity and assembly lines, and computerization—because it will even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human.

  • The Future of Jobs

    Today, we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution. Developments in genetics, artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, 3D printing and biotechnology, to name just a few, are all building on and amplifying one another. This will lay the foundation for a revolution more comprehensive and all-encompassing than anything we have ever seen.

  • Will Your Job Be Replaced By Automation?

    By 2022, almost half of all employers predict that automation could cause a shift in their workforce, namely a shift away from human employees. With huge margins for productivity and revenue growth, automation comes fast, but smart business leaders do well to consider the more human aspects of their operations. With automation comes opportunity to free up the creative energies of us humans, turning soft skills into valuable assets for businesses, no matter how far that automation may go.

  • The future of work in America: People and places, today and tomorrow

    In the decade ahead, the next wave of automation technologies may accelerate the pace of change. Millions of jobs could be phased out even as new ones are created. More broadly, the day-to-day nature of work could change for nearly everyone as intelligent machines become fixtures in the American workplace.

  • The State of Artificial Intelligence in the Nonprofit Sector

    Our world is changing at hyper speed, and one of the leading factors is data. According to some experts, data is the new oil. The world runs on data. The largest companies in the world profit on your data (e.g., Google and Facebook). Data is power, and with it comes the opportunity to experiment. We are in the dawn of the age of artificial intelligence (AI). The ability to collect, test, engineer, and industrialize data will be critical to the shaping of the story of the 21st century.

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