Tag Archives: Industry 4.0

Major report on Pima’s transformation

I am pleased to announce that “SHIFT HAPPENS @ Pima Community College: The Future of Working and Learning,” an in-depth report chronicling the transformational changes that have occurred at Pima over the past half-decade, is available online.

The report was produced by Jamai Blivin, founder and CEO of Innovate+Educate, which focuses on education and workforce strategies, and Dr. Merrilea Mayo, founder of Mayo Enterprises LCC, which focuses on innovation, workforce, technology and the future of learning.

As you know, the College has come a long way in a relatively short time. Because of the courage and creativity of faculty, staff, administrators and the Governing Board, Pima is shifting in multiple ways so that current and future students can have meaningful and relevant careers and lives.

I want to thank the PCC Foundation and the many units of the College that worked with Ms. Bliven and Dr. Mayo on the report. I also want to thank Tucson Foundations and the Pima Association of Governments for their support.

The future is here: Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist

It is clear the future of truck transportation will offer new employment opportunities for today’s drivers, but will require a set of additional skills. Truck operators will need to supplement their existing capabilities with competencies in logistics, information technology and other areas. That is because emerging technologies known collectively as Industry 4.0 – Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, digital technology, and the Internet of Things – will both continuously connect the vehicle to larger, complex systems and allow it to perform tasks autonomously.

In recognition of the need to prepare today’s truck operators for the professional opportunities of tomorrow, Pima and the autonomous vehicle manufacturer TuSimple have collaborated on a first-of-its-kind Autonomous Vehicle Driver and Operations Specialist certificate program.

This milestone, announced June 13, will teach experienced truck drivers to work with autonomous trucks in as little as one semester. Successful completers will be prepared to work as test drivers, operate the vehicle in situations where autonomous driving is not suitable, and oversee the system from a command center.

TuSimple and Pima have co-created a five-course curriculum for the certificate program, and TuSimple will prioritize hiring program graduates for jobs at its testing and development center in Tucson.

The new program, which begins in the Fall 2019 semester, demonstrates that Pima and TuSimple are thinking deeply about the social consequences of technology. Pima knows it must provide community members with programming that allows them to thrive in an era of accelerating change.

My thanks to Missy Blair, Program Manager at our Center for Transportation Training; Amanda Abens, Dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education; and Vice President of Workforce Development Dr. Ian Roark for making the program a reality on an aggressive timeline. Also, I want to recognize the wide range of faculty and administrators who worked together on a truly innovative interdisciplinary curriculum.

Futures Conference 2019: Lessons of the Great Manure Crisis

The College held its sixth Futures Conference on April 26. I want to thank the nearly 70 members of the community, including a half dozen students, who joined Pima employees to discuss how Pima should respond to the profound changes impacting 21st-century society. We are in the midst of an economic upheaval driven in large part by the emergent technologies of Industry 4.0: cloud computing, Artificial Intelligence, mobile technology and the Internet of Things.

I began with a story highlighting the challenges new technologies pose to institutional planning. In 1898, New York City hosted an international conference dedicated to a problem plaguing the world’s great cities: Millions of pounds of manure, the byproduct of the proliferation of horse-and-buggy transportation, the Uber of its day.

To their credit, the world’s urban planners had identified and attempted to respond to the challenges of their cities’ predicament. But they overlooked the automobiles that were just beginning to make their way down Park Avenue, Kensington Street and the Champs-Élysées. They lacked the foresight to fully imagine the consequences of the post-manure world (Manure 2.0 and 3.0), conceivably because they misjudged the speed at which new technologies would be adopted.

It took about 10 years for the horse and buggy to give way to machine-powered transportation in New York and other major cities. The timeline for changes wrought by Industry 4.0 is likely to be much more compressed. (It is worth noting that it took 20 years before 100 million Americans acquired a cellphone, 10 before 100 million connected to the Internet and only five before 100 million Americans signed up for Facebook.) I impressed upon the attendees that their task was to address challenges both distant and immediate. The future of education will be here soon, and thanks to Industry 4.0, will mean the new hallmarks of an effective classroom will be increased hybridization, digitization and personalization.

Personalization may be the most critical advance, as it offers a pathway to achieving educational equity. We need to understand and value the individual. Tens of thousands of diverse students come through our doors. We must take into account our students’ personal circumstances in order to lift them up to the starting line. Pima recognizes that offering equality of opportunity is an empty gesture without first redressing inequities, many of which are systemic, and some of which have been centuries in the making. If successful, Pima will achieve its goal of being an instrument of social justice, a necessity for our community, for, as Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has said, “Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society.”