Get Ready for the Hospital of the Future

The digital transformation of healthcare has already begun, but there is still much work to do.

Attendees of the Virtual Engineering Week keynote, “Mayo Clinic 2030: Hospital of the Future,” got a glimpse of healthcare’s future. Mark Wehde, chair, Mayo Clinic Division of Engineering, explored the increasing digitalization of healthcare and how it could lead to more patient-centric care. Mayo Clinic’s 2030 Bold Forward plan is one such effort. “The plan recognizes that digital transformation is the key to our future, and digital platforms will be crucial to enable us to provide better care to more patients. We are well into the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution—this is the digital platform revolution. Healthcare is shifting from a traditional hospital-centric care model to a more virtual distributed care model that heavily leverages the latest technologies around artificial intelligence, deep learning, data analytics, genomics, home-based healthcare, robotics, and 3D printing of tissues and implants.” full article here

2021 Tehnology Trends Foreshadowed in 2020 Tech Awards

Many 2021 predictions focus on how specific technologies will impact the way we work and how we perform product development in a COVID and post-COVID world. These trends were foreshadowed by the tech achievements awarded in 2020. The intersection between 2021 predictions and 2020 awards provides interesting insights into such life-changing areas as working-from-home (WFH), cyber-security (e.g., zoom-booming), product development, smart tech in homes and businesses, energy development, and more.

2021 may be remembered for its accelerated transition to a digital workplace, which began in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Digital technology has shown its full potential to both simplify and amplify communication in science, business, and government via video calls, webinars, and virtual events. Overall, we probably gained three to five years in terms of the adoption of and migration to this new normal in 2020. 

This gallery showcases key engineering work styles and product development predictions for 2021, followed by the 2020 engineering and science awards that foreshadowed them. Link to article and slide show of awards here

Year End Message from VWDB Director, Judith Velasco

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to wish you and your families a happy and restful holiday season. It is my hope that you enjoy a sense of accomplishment in serving as a board member for the Verdugo Workforce Development Board during 2020. Your continued support, guidance, and contributions made it possible for us to receive distinguished recognitions and provide innovative supportive services that have provided relief to our community.

I am excited to share that the State of California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) approved our application to be a High Performing Board. This designation is conferred only to boards in California who have exceeded the application requirements. To achieve this distinction, the VWDB was required to demonstrate in our application that we exceeded all six performance measures for adult programs; exceeded all youth program performance measures; met the expenditure measure which requires us to spend 30% of our funding on training; and included a Business Services Plan that identified workforce, skill gaps, emerging industries, and growth occupations. To demonstrate the difficulty in meeting these high standards, only 39 of the 46 boards in California earned the designation. This is a proud moment for our organization and an encouraging note on which to end the year.

The end of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on challenges and successes, and when I look back on the work of the VWDB and VJC this year, I feel a profound sense of pride and gratitude for our ability to provide needed support for the communities we serve. We watched thousands of workers lose their jobs and apply for unemployment, and witnessed business owners’ confusion and distress over the uncertainty around whether they will be able to open their businesses again. In response, the VWDB and VJC developed innovative methods to provide our services virtually; and we guided members of marginalized groups, including individuals with disabilities and English Language Learners, through our life-changing resources. According to the Employment Development Department, we are one of the few workforce boards to exceed enrollment goals and almost fully expend our COVID-19 emergency grant funds. These results support the VJC’s effectiveness in getting emergency services immediately to the people who need them. To date, hundreds of participants have received supportive services of up to $3,000 per person to assist them in paying for rent, utilities, medical expenses, and other critical living expenses during this difficult time. Throughout, our board members’ support and participation, both during and outside of our scheduled meetings, have kept us moving forward. 

With all this said, there is still much work to be done. We are focused on writing our compelling Career Services Application to the State of California, which allows the VJC to continue providing our own career services. We are working on our Four-Year Local Workforce Development Plan and are looking forward to releasing our Youth Services Request for Proposal in early 2021. Your participation in these three activities will ensure their success. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to the well-being of our community. –– Judith Velasco, Executive Director Verdugo Workforce Development Board

His Invention For Renewable Energy Inspired by the Physics of Northern Lights Just Won the 2020 Dyson Prize

AuREUS System Technology

While renewable energy uptake and solutions continue to grow, many can only generate electricity in the right environmental conditions. For example, solar panels can only capture and convert visible light into renewable energy and must be facing the sun to do so. What is more, solar farms are only built horizontally, never vertically and are often placed on prime arable farmland.

The solution? Invented by 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue from Mapua University in the Philippines, AuREUS System Technology is a material that can be attached to a pre-existing structure or surface. Utilizing the natural scientific principles behind the northern and southern lights, it harvests UV light and convert this into visible light to generate electricity. 

Using ultraviolet rays, the sun could be shining, or it could be cloudy: Carvey’s material will still generate electricity.  full story here

Uber and Lyft’s Gig Work Law Could Expand Beyond California

The companies are backing proposals in other states that would give workers the ability to form unions—but still consider them contractors, not employees.

In November, GIG companies including Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, and Instacart helped pass California’s Proposition 22, effectively writing their own labor law. Now the companies plan to bring similar legislation elsewhere.

Last month, the companies launched a group called the App-Based Work Alliance to support their agenda. Industry-supported bills in the works in New York state and Illinois would, like the California ballot measure, deny gig workers status as employees, and the workers’ compensation, paid family leave, sick pay, unemployment insurance, and minimum wage guarantees that come with it.

But the bills could give gig workers the right to form something resembling a union, allowing workers to bargain with multiple employers to create wage floors and standards. US workers in trucking, auto manufacturing, and grocery stores have participated in types of industry-wide bargaining, though the arrangement is more common in Europe.

The scheme has divided labor advocates. Some labor allies say that allowing gig workers to unionize would give them a much-needed seat at the table, in an industry where work and wages are dictated by algorithm and where access to the “bosses”—the companies that pay their wages—is hard to come by. Gaining the right to collectively bargain, these people say, is a vital first step in making the low-wage, high-turnover job more fair.

Others say that allowing gig companies to continue to treat their workers as independent contractors is a mistake. Legislation giving workers the right to a union without employment status would effectively be a government rubber stamp to gig companies’ business models, “in which the most low-income workers don’t have access to basic safety net benefits,” says Veena Dubal, a professor of labor law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. full story here at Wired

An even bigger battle for gig worker rights is on the horizon

“The first feeling I had was shock, disbelief and hurt,” Vanessa Bain, a worker-organizer with Gig Workers Collective, told TechCrunch. “It didn’t feel good to think that my fellow Californians voted to strip people like myself and my co-workers of our labor rights.. . . . We didn’t have time for more grieving because as soon as it passed, every company signaled they’re looking to expand this model to the national level, which means our organizing needs to adjust accordingly,” Bain said.”

But Prop 22 does not mark the end of the battle of the status of gig workers. Gig workers, lawyers and activists affiliated with Gig Workers Rising, Gig Workers Collective, the National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families are all gearing up to redouble their efforts in the New Year.

But the same goes for gig companies. Uber and Lyft are ready to take legislation similar to Prop 22 into other parts of the country and the world. So, really, the fight has just begun. In the year ahead, we will likely see lobbying efforts from both gig companies and gig worker organizations alike, as well as more lawsuits. full story here

Pandemic accelerating the move to a hybrid workplace

As employees swap the corporate office for the home office, business leaders are forced to re-examine the business model and strategic priorities.

The pandemic has amplified several trends already prevalent in the workplace: the growth of the dispersed workforce, the proliferation of digital engagement, and the rise of the subscription economy. Together, they are ushering in an era of a rapidly emerging work environment that promotes business agility and growth through a mix of on-site and remote employees, modern digital experiences, and on-demand access to software and solutions.

Flexible work environments will play a more central role moving forward. As one respondent put it, “remote workers are going to be the new norm for our company.” . . . Equally important to business leaders, employees are onboard with more remote work. According to PwC, almost three quarters (72%) of US employees now want to work remotely at least two days per week, with one third (32%) preferring to never go to the office. Similarly, Gallup reported in April 2020 that 60% of Americans would prefer to continue to work remotely once public health restrictions are lifted. full story here