In our most recent newsletter, I talked about the pace of change. Everywhere I look, I see change, particularly in the tech world. I was a child in the 50s when change seemed to come much more slowly, but today change is accelerating. We’re seeing new cell phones rolling out every couple of years. Driverless cars are being developed and road-tested. More people are spending time on mobile devices—tablets and phones—than on desktop computers. Apps are helping organize our lives in more and more ways. Automation has a greater influence in manufacturing than ever before.

Understanding the pace and nature of change and accepting that change is inevitable, brings me to the role of education. Now more than ever, it is necessary for people to be well trained for the highly-skilled, high-tech jobs that are the future. When I started my career 35% of all US jobs were in the manufacturing sector. Today it is down to 10%, but the percentage of GDP in manufacturing has steadily gone up due to increased productivity, thanks to automation.

In order for the U.S. to remain competitive and for American workers to fill the new jobs, we need to provide educational opportunities to keep up with the changes, not only in manufacturing, but in all sectors of the economy. The American worker needs to realize the skills they have today may not be the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs.

I am proud that our Curtis grantees are pursuing careers that will take them into this fast-changing world. We see a bright future for them and are delighted to be part of the journey.

—Joe Boutin, Chair, The Curtis Fund