View Cisco, Other Firms Announce Launch of SkillSet at World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos; Elements of Individual Training Libraries to be Available through Collective Portal for Free Access by Users

Chuck Robbins is CEO and chairman of Cisco.  His article in Business Insider references the World Economic Forum’s report on reskilling, and describes the effort of 11 companies (including apprenticeship-supporting Salesforce and CISCO) to open individual training libraries into a centralized portal (SkillSET).

Rapid technological advancements have changed the world in an incredibly short span of time.

In the past few years, we have seen technology that has been developed and applied in astonishing ways, opening up new opportunities, creating new markets, and driving economic growth.

But we have also witnessed the real impact technology can have.

Innovations such as artificial intelligence and automation have rendered some jobs unnecessary, and are changing the requirements for what skills are needed to get certain jobs done.

In many cases, jobs once managed by individuals can now be done by machines, whether physical labor such as operating machinery, or office tasks like data collection and processing.

The impact looms large: Cisco and Oxford Economics recently collaborated to examine how technological change will impact the future of work in the U.S., and our research has revealed that about 4.3 million workers will be displaced by 2027, with an additional 2.2 million workers disrupted, resulting in a total of 6.5 million job moves.

Additionally, according to the World Economic Forum’s report on workforce re-skilling, one in four adults reported a mismatch between the skills they have and the skills they need for their current job. At the same time a whole range of new roles will emerge in industries such as healthcare, technology, and media, and new skills will be required to meet the requirements of those jobs, as well.

It is clear that we must address this challenge to ensure the continued strength of economies around the world. Companies, industries, and governments must commit to building skilled workforces to ensure that the transition through this shift doesn’t leave our greatest asset — our people — behind.

I particularly believe that it is especially incumbent upon business leaders to take a stand — without the talent needed to drive our companies forward, no one company will be successful. We must look at how we can work across the technology industry, and across every industry, to unite our collective strengths in addressing this issue. Successful collaboration just requires the will, and the commitment to see it through.

Several of us have taken the first step. At this year’s World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, 11 companies have joined efforts to help train workers of the future.

Founding partners for this initiative include Accenture, CA Technologies, Cisco, Cognizant, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Infosys, Pegasystems, PwC, Salesforce, SAP and Tata Consultancy Services.

As a group, we are opening up key elements of our individual training libraries into one centralized portal called SkillSET, where users will have free access to the most up-to-date self-paced training materials, ranging from general business skills to deep focus on cyber-security, big data, or Internet of Things.

The portal will offer a tailored Digital Fitness Assessment, developed by PwC, to help users determine which coursework and learning pathways best fit their current skill set and learning goals. Our goal is to impact one million people over the next few years.

By pooling our training and education resources and funding job reskilling for workers displaced by technology and automation, we are committed to making sure that workers can access new pathways to career success.

New technology provides us with an incredible opportunity. Making connections — bringing people, and things online securely—yields endless possibilities. But while technology has incredible capability to be applied to do amazing things, it is people that come first, and this matters more than ever.

In my view, no one person, or company, can devise all solutions alone.  Our fractured world might seem fragile, but it is possible to create solutions to the issues that vex us locally, and globally. It just requires us — particularly those of us who lead companies around the world — to roll up our sleeves and work together.

By building this initiative, 11 global companies are doing just that, and I am excited to see the impact we can make.