Employers and employees are facing unprecedented challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic created immense and unexpected obstacles for business, education, and communities. It accelerated a digital transformation as technology is reshaping every job. 

Automation and artificial intelligence are replacing and creating new industries. Remote work is changing who is prompting for jobs, making human skills more important than ever. Communities are rethinking how they attract new residents. There are major implications for organizations as new structures, leadership, culture, and rewards are required.

Workers in the future will be impacted by the public policy decisions that we make today. As Americans rush to respond to our current moment, Missourians are coming together to imagine how to turn this disruption into opportunity. Our 4th Annual Humanities Spring Symposium, The Future of Work, was a day-long virtual event that convened students, scholars, and community members to consider how work shapes our shared human experience. Through a series of interdisciplinary panels and presentations, participants and attendees examined workforce development, practices, and trends that impact how, where, and why we work. 

For questions regarding the symposium, contact Ashley Beard-Fosnow at ashley@mohumanities.org

The Future of Work explored the central role of work in our lives by exploring a number of important questions about the past, present and future of work:
  • How will the COVID-19 pandemic permanently change the way we work?
  • Where will work take place and what impact will that have on communities?
  • What are the jobs of the future?
  • What skills do workers need? How do the humanities fit?
  • How is artificial intelligence and technology impacting work?
  • How are approaches to leadership and ethics evolving? 
  • What lessons can we learn from past American workforce development initiatives and policies?
Event Schedule – 

10:00 A.M. Session “Status of Women in Missouri and the Shecovery”
– Wendy Doyle, CEO and President of United- We

11:00 A.M. Session – “The Future of Work, Entrepreneurship, and Access to Opportunity”
– Derek Ozkal, Senior Program Officer of Entrepreneurship at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

12:00 P.M. Session – “State Technical College of Missouri”
– Shawn Strong, State Technical College of Missouri President 

2:00 P.M. Session – “Missouri Workforce Development Panel”
– Rob Dixon, Director of Missouri Department of Economic Development 
– Brian Crouse, Vice President of Education at the Missouri Chamber of Commerce & Industry
– Kimberly Beatty, Chancellor of Metropolitan Community College Kansas City
– Steve Devlin, Senior Program Director Business & Communities Extension with University of Missouri Extension
– Moderated by Steve Belko, Executive Director of Missouri Humanities

4:00 P.M. Session – “Placemaking and Jobs: Community Efforts to Attract and Retain Workers of the Future”
– Robert Russell, Director of Labor & Workforce Development with University of Missouri Extension
– Mark C. White, Associate Extension Professor and State Specialist in Missouri Extension’s Labor and Workforce Development Program

7:00 P.M. Session – “Workforce Development in the Civilian Conservation Corps”
– Neil Maher, Professor of History and Master Teacher in the Federated History Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University-Newark and author of “Nature’s New Deal”