Looming behind all the buzz about the future of work and the threat that automation, artificial intelligence, and machines pose to future job stability, is the underlying shift underway in the U.S. economy from "making things to caring for people."
Healthcare currently employs one in nine working Americans, and is "projected to add 2.3 million jobs between 2014 and 2024, the most out of any group of occupations." These jobs vary from doctors to medical administrators, but inside of this group one of the fastest growing fields is direct care — personal care workers, home health aides, and nursing assistants — who the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects to add more than 1 million jobs over the next seven years.
In an in-depth article for Vox, reporter Soo Oh examines the shift underway within the U.S. economy which went from employing 32% of workers in manufacturing, or production related jobs like retail and construction in 1970, to now only employing 17% in the same industries. While on the other hand, an aging population and new treatments for chronic illnesses have created "a labor boom in the health care sector." However, the complexities of this shift are highlighted by a distinct wage gap and lack of certification and training for the types of health care jobs that are most abundant.
A True Calling
According to Becky Hall, Assistant Director at 1199SEIU Training & Employment Funds, and a valued partner of Practice, "Direct care takes a physical and mental toll on the workers that provide it —and the vast majority of caregivers are truly called to this helping profession."