Think about the typical jobs that a high school student might get. Fast food, the grocery store, retail.
McDonalds is already experimenting with eliminating employees by using ordering machines, and it’s not crazy to imagine a robot making your burger and fries. Amazon’s conception of a grocery store doesn’t require cashiers. You pay on the go, take what you need and leave the store. Retail is moving online, although retail jobs will probably stay longer than fast food and grocery.
What happens when low-skill, entry level jobs continue decrease in quantity? While there are still plenty of jobs and opportunities for young people, they will require skills and mindsets that schools are not teaching.
Most companies need help with social media. That job doesn’t require a degree, but it does require some knowledge of marketing and communication. It’s not a mindless role of bagging groceries or frying food.
We will need pathways for teens to find employment. Gainful employment that could help them move up the ladder and build real competencies other than “a work ethic” and “the ability to show up and work.” Those are important skills, but it’s not worth doing mindless work just to gain those skills. You can do meaningful work and learn them at the same time. I would argue that young people need BOTH if they want to be prepared for success in the new job market.
This means young people need jobs creating, innovating, presenting, collaborating. Generally, they need to have ideas and put them into action. That skill will be forever scarce. You don’t learn it at a minimum wage job. You don’t learn it at most jobs. But it’s what everyone will need to be resilient in the face of massive change.