From scooters to air taxis, a tectonic shift in how people and goods move around is underway. As mobility changes, so do work force needs. The Michigan Mobility Institute, founded in 2018, is attempting to prepare workers for the jobs of the not-too-distant future, bringing together educators, startups and global companies to ensure talent needs are met.
This month, co-founder and board Chairman Jessica Robinson, 39, appeared on the Shift mobility podcast to discuss the nonprofit's latest developments and the seismic changes across the transportation landscape. Here are edited excerpts. The entire episode can be found at autonews.com/shiftpodcast.
Q: Michigan Mobility Institute was founded two years ago. How have you seen the mobility world change in that short time, and how has your thinking about the institute evolved?
A: One of the things that's been really encouraging since we launched the institute was continuing to connect with others in the community who see the importance of some of these topics, kind of pushing this conversation forward and partnering with others. What maybe has changed over the past two years is COVID heightened certain areas of technology and pushed their time horizons forward a little bit more. In other cases, it's pushed the timelines further out.
Q. In the past, Detroit has been known as the Arsenal of Democracy. On the website, Michigan Mobility Institute says the city can be the Arsenal of Mobility. What does that mean?
A. With the Arsenal of Democracy, it was the people that powered the industrial know-how to actually deliver those machines that were very important to us at that part of our history. So, as we think about being the Arsenal of Mobility today, it again starts with people and making sure they're trained and ready. And also making sure that we are not losing sight of where the industry is headed, whether it's something like the arrival of electric vehicle and battery technology or the importance of software.