By: C. Kenneth Meyer, M.A, M.P.A., Ph.D. Thomas F. Sheehan Distinguished Professor of Public Administration
Futurist studies claim that the characteristics of the workplace in the twenty-first century will be vastly different from what most employees find today. These differences will be based, in part on the continued growth of job specification; the spin-off effects of basis science and research that will result in new technologies; and an increase in the growth of employment in the service and knowledge e-sector, including health care, transportation, retail sales, and government employment. Forecasts predict that between 40 and 60 percent of the jobs people will hold in the next 20 years have not yet been created. These trends underscore the need for lifelong acquisition of new information, knowledge, and skill development through in-service training and self-education, as well as traditional and non-traditional forms of education, through such venues as distance learning and competency-based learning.