Economic Growth Institute completes study: Understanding the Middle-Skill Workforce in the Connected & Automated Vehicle Sector
The Economic Growth Institute was funded by American Center for Mobility and Ralph Wilson Foundation to research the emerging workforce skills and related gaps for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs). This research report explores the workforce supporting CAVs in Southeast Michigan, specifically looking at the development and evolution of middle-skill jobs. Middle-skill jobs are classified as jobs that require more skills and experience than a high school education provides, but less than a four-year degree. Within the CAV sector technicians comprise the majority of middle-skill jobs, and the bulk of this research report explores the workforce supporting CAVs in Southeast Michigan.
Through 63 interviews with engineering and HR professionals in the CAV sector, the research team identifies the evolving job duties and supporting skillsets for middle-skill workers. Job duties are defined as the tasks employees are expected to successfully complete within their role. The four thematic areas for technician job duties are prototyping, troubleshooting, testing, and maintenance. Skillsets are the technical and soft skills that equip employees to accomplish their duties. The report outlines a pyramid of skillsets – base skillsets, emerging and advanced.
Workforce gaps are identified in technical and soft skills within the middle-skill CAV workforce. Successfully training and equipping middle-skill workers in the CAV sector is a critical part of its continued growth and development. Technicians offer unique perspectives and experiences in testing and can help streamline advancements when appropriately equipped and trained. The success of this sector in Southeast Michigan will depend not only on the engineering designers and innovators, but also the technicians who assist in bringing an idea from design into reality through prototyping, testing, troubleshooting and maintaining new products.