At Georgia Tech, Digitalization Meets the 21st Century Workforce

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 12:54 pm EDT

By:

Steve Conner, CFO, Power Generation Services Division and CEO, Siemens Energy, Inc.

The future is digital, and the call to action for companies to help Americans gain 21st century skills is urgent both in the present and future. As the digital transformation intensifies, Siemens is reinventing itself as a fully digital company – just like many of our customers. And what we’ve learned along the way is that we can’t view this as simply a technology challenge; we see instead that we really need to focus on people.

We need to develop, recruit and retain the technical knowledge and the professional skills that we need to drive this forward. What we must focus on, though, is that many middle skill jobs are evolving to be more digital. Now it takes more education and training to be qualified, and while robots add value and will ultimately replace certain tasks, you need highly trained people to run advanced industry. And we’re looking for these people, and training them ourselves, right now in the U.S.

As we move into our digital future, Siemens needs people who have backgrounds in computer science, software development, and programming. We’re looking for software engineers and Internet of Things researchers – people with know-how in artificial intelligence, machine learning and 3D design. We want to continue growing our recruiting relationships, which is why we have well established and successful partnerships with educational institutions – such as the one with our Center of Knowledge Interchange (CKI) university partner Georgia Institute of Technology – that share our passion for innovation. We’re investing in research collaborations with universities and realizing the tremendous opportunity to work with bright students and seasoned professors.

Georgia Tech was recognized as a Siemens CKI University in 2015 in recognition of the quality of its academic programs and students, and because of a long-standing relationship with Siemens based on three shared values: Excellence, Innovation and Diversity. An active Master Research Agreement we have enables researchers across Siemens the opportunity to quickly establish new collaborations.

Next week, Georgia Tech is hosting a ‘CKI Day’ on its campus that will highlight several R&D projects Siemens has with its professors and students. I can think of no better backdrop for these projects to be showcased than in its Aerospace Design Laboratory and the Robotarium. Grad students will also host a special poster session showcasing the work they’re doing and the impact it has on society. Definitely making real what matters.

Through our ongoing collaborations such as those that will be highlighted next week, we’ve hired almost 180 Georgia Tech students in just the past four years. Close to 90 percent of these recent Georgia Tech grads are placed into talent programs where they get to do rotations and receive on-the-job training that prepares them for careers at Siemens. In fact, Siemens now has more than 300 Georgia Tech alumni.

We believe our investment in new skills and new talent is as vital to our customer value proposition as our R&D efforts and new offerings. And we hope this helps to tell the full story of what is possible in the digital economy. The scope is no longer limited to Silicon Valley; these are the jobs of the future throughout the country. The opportunities also extend beyond designing web pages and consumer apps. Now someone can join Siemens and use their tech talent to build smart factories and smart cities with us.

Working together with our university partners, we are inspiring the next generation of leaders in technology and engineering – the young men and women who will write the next chapter of innovation and discovery in America and around the world. I am confident that our full spectrum partnership with academia will continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

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