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Technology and Training Intersect at May Eggs & Issues

May 5th, 2016 by Amanda Huggett


At the May Eggs & Issues event, the topics of technology, workforce, history and higher education merged into one fascinating discussion. North Dakota University System Chancellor Mark Hagerott presented, and we were joined by Interim UND President Ed Schafer, NDSU President Dean Bresciani and NDSCS President John Richman for commentary.

Hagerott engaged attendees with some history and a framework to start the discussion. Referencing Navy research, he says the world is splitting into three realms – human-centered activity, the integration of human and machine, and autonomous robotic machines, in which there is tremendous competition among companies and countries for the latter. Hagerott elaborated on how each realm evolved and overlapped, and further, how each affects major industries such as agriculture, energy, the military and more.

He also said that two macro events of historic proportions are happening right now: the revolution of robots and UAS, and big data. “These are two epic events, on which North Dakota is incredibly well-positioned to capitalize.”

In other exciting news for these innovations and our region, president Obama has tentatively proposed a $3.9 billion research grant related to unmanned vehicles that would start in North Dakota on Highway 83.

For more on this topic, the chancellor suggested watching this YouTube video:


From there, the three college presidents took the stage to provide commentary on how their institutions are involved in this tech shift and how it affects the Red River Valley.

“What we’re talking about here is not compliance, but developing the ethics of universities,” Schafer said. “We’re talking about building people that come out of our universities … so that it betters our administration, our economy and culture.”

EIMay_044_SmallRichman spoke on the two-year schools’ role in all of this innovation, tying it back to our region’s workforce, of which he said there is a massive critical need. For every graduate that NDSU or UND puts out, three to five techs are needed to support the work of each of their engineers. And with the tremendous growth projected in each of our region’s school districts, the colleges need to be ready to train those workers.

“Any study you look at today will tell you that you cannot have a productive society without a 12th grade education,” Richman said. It used to be 1-8 in the old days, which became k-12, and now it’s p-14 that is the educational limit to be a productive member of society.

Richman put out a call to policymakers to put more funding toward education so the system can be better aligned to support growth. He also spoke on the importance of all the region’s education systems working together to align curriculum to best prepare and train students for this workforce, as well as having one center for the current workforce to continue their education and be upskilled. “If you’re really serious about moving the socio-economic position of this region, we need to do that. We’ve talked about it long enough.”

Check out some of these Tweets from event attendees!

Thank you to all our speakers, sponsors, attendees and the Courtyard. It was another fantastic event!


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