In a matter of weeks, Dakota State University President José-Marie Griffiths will speak to U.S. senators about workforce and economic disruption.
But you can hear her thoughts on the topic sooner than that in Sioux Falls.
Griffiths will help lead off the WIN in Workforce Summit on Nov. 1 as part of the panel Talent Talk: Get To Know the People Changing Our Workforce Landscape. The annual event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sioux Falls Convention Center and will bring together thought leaders such as Griffiths for a look at what the future holds for talent development, attraction and retention.
“Clearly, we’ve got to talk about the role of technology, both the positive and negative, what you should and should not do with it,” said Griffiths, a leading authority on artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
“It’s important to educate everyone about how these technologies work, and it’s becoming more important as AI is playing a role in so many people’s lives. The whole conversation around it has completely changed in the last six months. Many businesses are using AI without necessarily even realizing they’re using AI, and some are still thinking AI just began when actually it’s been around since the 1950s.”
The landscape is rapidly changing, however, and workforce will be disrupted because of it.
“Certainly within five years, maybe in three. It’s going to move quickly,” Griffiths said. “Everyone is concerned about it replacing jobs and how we’re going to retrain people who lose their jobs to something else. Some of these jobs will be doing very different things, and we’ll be learning how to work with technology rather than away from technology.”
While there will be the need to upskill in areas, Griffiths said the “power skills” – or what you might think of as soft skills – are going to be just as critical in facing the future.
“Your ability to communicate and adapt and work well and learn while doing, ask questions and be curious will be key,” she said. “It’s not about looking at your job as something with finality but looking at it as something with context and being open to working with different technology and systems and approaches. We’re all doing it right now. We’re just going to have to become a little more comfortable with change.”
For her own workforce needs at Dakota State, Griffiths said she has found success by casting out her recruitment efforts beyond her traditional geography.
“We’re targeting areas with people who have the qualifications we need and going beyond our normal range of locations,” she said. “Most recently, five of six people we brought in for interviews are from areas we wouldn’t have touched before. And additionally, we’re working closely with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and sending people to trade shows related to cybersecurity, so we have a presence together and can both talk about the benefits of locating in South Dakota.”
She also has a message for business leaders looking to hire DSU graduates: Get engaged early and often.
“We have career fairs, but we also have employers regularly visiting campus. They might visit a couple classes and talk about the interesting things they do or host a pizza reception for students to meet them and chat,” she said. “It’s not enough to pitch them a job. We have to pitch them a career. We have to talk about the opportunities available to advance and the pathways that exist to do interesting things.”
It’s the kind of insight attendees can expect all day at the WIN Summit, said Denise Guzzetta, vice president of talent and workforce development for the Sioux Falls Development Foundation.
“Dr. Griffiths is the perfect example of the thought leadership and actionable advice you’ll take with you at this event,” she said. “Even in the last year, the conversation around AI has completely evolved, and it’s critical to tap into what forward-thinking leaders are doing today to get ready for tomorrow.”
About the WIN in Workforce Summit
Sessions at the WIN in Workforce Summit are eligible for nine SHRM and HRCI recertification credits. The Sioux Falls Development Foundation is recognized by SHRM to offer professional development credits for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® recertification activities.