One of the joys of flying in and out of a small-town airport is the quality time you often get to spend with others from the community, colleagues from campus, and frequently, our students. If you’re departing CMX you’ll see our students dressed in their Sunday best as if they were headed to the career fair. And if you’re on the late flight home, you may seem them dressed similarly with the one difference being the smile on their face and look of relief. Strike up a conversation with them and you’ll likely find they are on their way home from an interview, perhaps this is one of many and they’re now deciding which offer to take.
Yes, it’s true, our students get great jobs and frequently have multiple offers. But these jobs will be different, as a matter of fact, predictions suggest that up to 65% of today’s students will be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist. These jobs will be generated by a new convergence of cyber and physical spaces. Blockchain, artificial intelligence, cloud computing and automation are some of the technologies that will drive these changes. Our students are embarking on a journey that is yet to be defined.
This past fall Michigan Tech held a series of conversations to position the institution as an internationally recognized thought leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. At the same time, the Provost commissioned a team to consider how innovation shapes our university and impacts the importance of our work. Both reports are pivot points for the university and provide a roadmap for the future. Nine Tech Forward initiatives were identified around the themes of developing solutions to natural resources, water and energy problems; building innovative autonomous and intelligent systems; creating technological solutions to enhance human health and quality of life; preparing culturally receptive leaders for a diverse world; and redefining education for the next generation. The task force on innovation report provided multiple recommendations including ways to extend Michigan Tech’s reach beyond the traditional campus, increasing the optimization of online and professional education offerings, flexibility in course scheduling and rethinking modalities of education delivery.
In their book, Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think, Diamandis and Kotler suggest that the days of an isolated world are behind us and the rate of technology growth and innovation has never been greater. As a matter of fact, they submit that humanity is entering a period of radical transformation where technology will raise the standards of living for all individuals resulting in a more abundant future; a future where all are provided a life of possibility.
Career Fair at Michigan Tech is just a few weeks away. Hundreds of individuals will be on campus to meet thousands of our students. It’s an exciting time for these students and a future full of possibility. It’s also an exciting time for Michigan Tech as we extend our reach and embark on a new journey where we will partner with others in education, industry and communities to provide education and transformational experiences to prepare individuals for lives of consequence and possibility.