Mental health concerns have reached a critical level, as more and more Americans seek mental health support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Far too many patients cannot access care due to provider shortages and insurance challenges, but this is not a new problem. There simply are not enough professionals to care for Americans seeking mental health support.
Renewable energy has been a topic for decades now, with steady advances in both wind and solar technology. As more nations and companies seek to limit their carbon emissions, there has been a steady increase in wind farms and solar fields across the globe. Jeff Bezos and Amazon unveiled The Climate Pledge (carbon neutrality by 2040) back in 2019, and so far more than 50 companies have signed on.
In addition, states across the US have made substantial commitments to new wind and solar projects. New York has 16 wind energy projects slated to begin in 2021, with a total price tag of eleven billion dollars. California plans to host 22 solar projects worth eight billion. Texas, however, outdoes them both combined, with 26 separate wind farms and 45 solar projects planned for 2021 – an investment of twenty-seven billion dollars. This has lead to a fundamental shift in the job market in the energy sector.
The Covid-19 pandemic has left millions of Americans unemployed, but the skilled trade sector of the job market has been complicated for much longer than the past year.
Coined in the late sixties, the term “mechatronics” was simply a combination of the words mechanics and electronics. It reflected the integration of electrical systems and computing into complicated machinery. Fifty years later, the term is used more broadly and encompasses a wide range of disciplines, including automation and robotics. As a multidisciplinary field of study, students enrolled in mechatronics programs study mechanical and electrical engineering, machine learning, coding, and more. This multifaceted education can make those with a mechatronics background particularly appealing to employers from a variety of industries.
A coalition of major oil & gas, power, automotive, fuel cell, and hydrogen companies recently released a “Road Map to a U.S. Hydrogen Economy” that predicts hydrogen from low-carbon sources could provide approximately 14% of the country’s energy needs by 2050. The key phrase here? “Low-carbon.” Currently, 95% of the hydrogen we use is developed using fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. However, hydrogen itself, when used in a fuel cell, for example, emits exactly zero CO2. Hence the global race to create a carbon neutral Hydrogen Economy.
At present, the process of creating green hydrogen through renewable energy sources and electrolysis is both too expensive and technologically limited to achieve in a scalable way. But energy companies and fuel cell manufacturers are striving to improve that process and simultaneously create the infrastructure that will be necessary to store, transport, and deliver hydrogen to customers. Higher education institutions are also actively involved in research and development of new technologies and applications to advance the hydrogen economy.
Current jobs related to the hydrogen economy generally require advanced education and expertise in fields such as chemistry and engineering. Supply chain and logistics experts are involved as well. Gray’s data show that job postings related to chemistry, engineering, and supply chain and logistics are consistently high, looking at the year-over-year comparison, with a considerable increase to 68,000 in October.
Job Postings related to Engineering and Supply Chain by Month
Associate Degrees Are in Higher Demand, as Employer Awareness of Degree Inflation Increases.
As the student loan debt issue grows, more attention is being paid to degree inflation in the job market. Pragmatically, as unemployment rises, employers need to screen out thousands of applicants. Degree-level is an easy screen, so it is widely used. A January 2021 article from the BBC states that many students who have gone back to school or are in school now “could graduate into a different recruitment environment because, while degree inflation is a problem decades in the making, the pandemic may have opened the door to big changes.” A widely-published 2017 study by the Harvard Business School found that “employers were increasingly inflating the educational requirements for jobs usually held by high school grads. We also found that automated hiring tools excluded applicants with relevant experience simply because they lacked a college degree. In many cases, qualified candidates never even got the chance to apply for a position.”
Over the last two decades, there has been a shift toward a more holistic approach to patient treatment. Wellness is a booming industry, and research shows that there is a strong trend in the healthcare sector towards Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine. Lifestyle Medicine is defined by the American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) as “the use of a whole food, plant-predominant dietary lifestyle, regular physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances and positive social connection as a primary therapeutic modality for treatment and reversal of chronic disease.”
The “Fauci Effect” refers to the significant bump (nearly 20%) in medical school applications, as reported by admissions officials across the country. The officials attribute the unprecedented rise to the popularity of Anthony Fauci, the director of the NIAID, who essentially became the face of our nation’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic nearly a year ago.