Graduation, less migration, and hopefully, acceleration

June 6, 2019

 With technological advances, the jobs of the future don’t require as much physical co-location as systems being in place to allow for seamless communication, shared work and workspaces.    

 

Can you believe it? It’s now June and almost half of 2019 is done. For most families, the month marks the end of the school year with graduations, moving up ceremonies, and send off parties. For the rest, it’s the start of summer – but every day is summer in our island paradise anyway!   

 

 For the young adults of this year’s graduating class, decisions will soon be made (if not already done) on what comes next after graduating from high school. For some, it means getting jobs, going for further studies, or both on the island. For others, it means joining the military and getting stationed somewhere off island. Still others opt to pursue further studies outside of Guam. Whatever the case maybe, there seems to be a dearth of young, productive people on island.

 

 

Only ~16 percent of our population is from 15-24 years old, which points to possible partial migration of our youth off island after high school with some then coming back at some point to start families and settle down.    

 

To keep our young adults on island, we need to develop more industries that are interesting and lucrative for them to make careers of. I may be a bit biased when I say how I wish we could have better technology-related industries.

 

A cursory look at our college and university offerings point to more traditional courses, which while good, may not be comprehensive and responsive to future needs. A knowledge on the top growing industries and high-paying careers in the world point to the fact that newer, technology-related ones are needed.

 

With technological advances, the jobs of the future don’t require as much physical co-location as systems being in place to allow for seamless communication, shared work and workspaces.    

 

The jobs of the future don’t require much routine work. There will be RPA (robotic process automation), robotics, and other systems to do that. For Guam to be at the forefront and maximize this global trend, there needs to be some strategic thinking and execution planning from both the private and government sectors to develop the ecosystems necessary for this to thrive here. The aggressive development of STEM on island is positive news towards this direction.

 

However, other systems need to be in place. New industries need to be developed. Telecommunications facilities need to be fast, reliable, and affordably connected to the world. A start-up culture looking not just at Marianas as a key market but the world at large needs to be the mindset and direction. Traditional walls and distances are not sacrosanct anymore in the future. The region can very well be a technology and science hub standing in the middle of the east with very strong ties to the west.

 

Perhaps our youth then will opt to stay. And perhaps, instead of partial migration outside of our paradise, we can accelerate development and create a place for them to thrive.    

 

 

 

 

 

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Joy Santamarina is a consulting principal in the APAC region specializing in the telecommunications, media, and technology industry. Send feedback to joysantamarina@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

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