Stream online! Tuesday, April 14, 2020 — 6:30 PM How Can We Make Farmwork Healthier?

A Zócalo/The California Wellness Foundation Event

Farm work is vital to our society—and dangerous for the people who do it. Farmworkers are exposed to a variety of health hazards: noise, heat, harmful chemicals, and musculoskeletal injuries, to name a few. Farmworkers’ struggles with long hours, low wages, polluted air, overcrowded housing, and frequent relocations often add to their challenges, especially in mental health. What do Californians owe to the laborers who put fruits, vegetables, nuts, and milk on our tables? How are changes in technology and immigration enforcement reshaping the nature of farm work and its health concerns? What progress has been made in protecting the health of farmworkers, and what important steps are regulators or the agricultural industry refusing to take? Organic farmer and artist Nikiko Masumoto, Huron Mayor Rey León, health researcher Chia Thao, and Tania Pacheco-Werner, co-assistant director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute, visit Zócalo to consider how to make farm work healthier.

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Workforce Matters in Manufacturing

Here are the top stories on manufacturing from 2019. The changing workforce led coverage of manufacturing.

The Landscape of Industrial Manufacturing and Warehouse Robots; Prepping the Workforce for Smart Automation ; Rise of the Augmented Worker ; Manufacturers Turn to Automation to Combat Labor Shortages ; Retiring Knowledge Workers May Get Replaced with Technology ; Industrial 5G: Impact on Factory Automation ; The Industry 4.0 Blueprint Is Being Rewritten by Startups 

10 tech companies transforming retail for 2020 and beyond

From robots that do inventory to stores with no employees – policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations

According to the Commerce Department online only accounts for about 12% of sales, leaving the rest to be made up by physical stores. Technology is bringing some big changes to retail in the coming years. And policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations.

Do we want stores with no employees? AiFI a Calif. startup is using artificial intelligence to fully automate the retail experience. Being able to walk into a market, pick up what you want and leave – while AI tracks you and everything you leave with, charging your credit card post-departure – may provide great convenience, but what about consumer privacy and what about the loss of retail jobs ? Bossa Nova is a robotics company that provides stores like Wal-Mart with a robot that roams the aisles checking inventory. San Diego’s Brain Corp provides robotic janitors for retail spaces. Other companies, like Pixvana are embracing workers and developing software to help in their job training, while RocketFuel another new company is working on ways to enhance the security of consumer online payments.

link to an article about this in Design News

How to think about 3D printing in 2020

One of the most consequential aspects of 3D printing is the capability to produce objects that cannot be manufactured using any other existing technology. At a fundamental level, 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, can consolidate parts in a single assembly. . . . At a higher level, the technology allows the creation of “previously unimagined complex shapes. That creates unprecedented design opportunities, but to take full advantage of them, design engineers need to retool their thought process. “You have a world of designers who have been trained in and grown up with existing technologies like injection molding. Because of this, people unintentionally bias their design toward legacy processes and away from technologies like 3D printing,” said Paul Benning, Chief Technologist for HP Printing & Digital Manufacturing. full article . . . .

Autodesk Says Construction sites will become automated factories

A new wave of technology is coming out of the world of design software for automated construction and environmental improvements. This is good news for cities where buildings must be built in cramped spaces – buildings can be assembled in modules and brought to constructions sites. But is it also an important consideration regarding jobs and the automation of work. Full story

Future of Technology & Entertainment: Jobs, Business Potential and Policy Questions

As the epicenter of digital entertainment creation and entertainment jobs, keeping up with tech and entertainment is part of our mandate. With the dawn of AI and the rise of social media, technology is scarier — and more exciting — than ever. Here’s how it’s changing music, TV, sports and more.

Virtual reality is going hyper-real. CGI is bringing back the old stars. A recent concert used no less than 157,000 multidirectional speakers to send the music to its audience! One car company is doing away with speakers and simply turning. the entire car body into a speaker. Machine made music, anyone? AI songwriting is gaining traction. Several artists using a songwriting algorithm called Flow Machines already have appeared in Spotify.

But in addition to innovations and job potential, there are policy questions in need of addressing when it comes to entertainment technology, just as there are in other tech fields. For instance, according to Rolling Stone Magazine, ” Taylor Swift fans mesmerized by rehearsal clips on a kiosk at her May 18, 2019 Rose Bowl show were unaware of one crucial detail: A facial-recognition camera inside the display was taking their photos. The images were being transferred to a Nashville “command post,” where they were cross-referenced with a database of hundreds of the pop star’s known stalkers, according to Mike Downing, chief security officer of Oak View Group, an advisory board for concert venues including Madison Square Garden and the Forum in L.A. “Everybody who went by would stop and stare at it, and the software would start working,” …. Despite the obvious privacy concerns — for starters, who owns those pictures of concertgoers and how long can they be kept on file? — the use of facial-recognition technology is on the rise at stadiums and arenas, and security is not the only goal. . . . “ full article

Public Sector Training Partnerships Build Power

From building trades apprenticeships to the Culinary Academy of Las Vegas’ casino and hospitality worker training, labor-management partnerships are well regarded for their ability to connect private sector workers to high-paying jobs while ensuring that employers receive a steady stream of well-qualified employees. Yet, policymakers and advocates often pay less attention to existing partnerships between unionized public sector workers and their employers, despite the fact that these workers now account for about half of all union members and that there is a long history of public sector partnerships providing professional development opportunities to workers.1

By expanding the use of public sector labor-management training partnerships, policymakers and unions can help government employers and unions work together to solve challenges and deliver good results for workers, employers, and the public. Labor-management partnerships—independent organizations that unions and employers jointly control—allow partners to collaboratively design and manage workforce training, professional learning, and apprenticeship opportunities. Research finds that these sorts of programs can help employers recruit and retain skilled workers; improve work quality; boost productivity; and strengthen employee relations.2 Public sector training programs are also being used to increase the diversity of the public sector workforce; ensure that government is ready to serve diverse populations; and provide a pathway to a good job for workers, particularly those who face  multiple barriers to finding employment.

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The State of the U.S. Labor Market: Pre-September 2019 Jobs Release

  1. The unemployment rate remains high for young workers.
  2. Younger workers are more likely to work part time for economic reasons
  3. As school enrollment continues to rise, the labor force participation rate for 16- to 22-year-olds continues to decline
  4. Choosing to pursue an education over work experience may come with risks and trade-offs; the college debt burden continues to swell while the body of research on college food insecurity grows.
  5. As anxieties and predictions about the future of work abound, it is crucial that researchers avoid overlooking the young workers who will eventually enter the labor force.

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