Future of Work in KY

In a state where iconic and once-staple industries like tobacco farming and coal mining have been severely disrupted, and where key industries like traditional manufacturing, order fulfillment, transportation of goods–and the service industry that surrounds such transportation–are projected to continue to be severely disrupted in the years to come, what are potential positive futures for the state’s economy? What are the paths to getting there? What obstacles stand in the way? And what are some of the promising projects already heading in that direction?

  • With the MIT Open Documentary Lab, we are exploring a co-created interactive documentary project addressing these questions.
  • With the MIT Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Program (REAP), Kentucky was named the first U.S. region to ever be accepted to the program in 2018. (More from University of Kentucky and Lane Report.)
  • With the MIT Computer Science & Artificial Intelligence Lab, we are looking at ways to help workers (and employers) determine whether workers have an aptitude for, and an interest in, computational thinking. Find more from the MIT CSAIL site.
  • With the University of Southern California Annenberg School’s Civic Imagination Project/Civic Paths team, we are exploring how processes engaging a collective “civic imagination” might assist in finding answers to these questions.
  • With the South Fayette School District in McDonald, PA, we are exploring a pilot project for bringing computational thinking into K-12 classrooms. With Western Kentucky University’s Department of Communication, I co-taught a class on the Future of Work in Kentucky in Spring 2018.
  • And, with various entities in the state, we’re exploring additional experiments and partnerships in higher education, K-12 education, and workforce development that might help The Bluegrass State find innovative ways forward.

More on some aspects of this initiative in The Boston Globe Magazine, WBUR’s Here and NowThe GroundTruth Project, and CXO Magazine.

Also, listen to the audio podcast of our SXSW session on “reimagining a disrupted economy,” and see my 2018 University of Kentucky talk, “Co-Creating the Future of Work in Kentucky: The Power of Narrative for Imagining Sustainable Solutions.”