On this episode of the Voices of eLearning, HP Director of EdTech Innovation Mike Belcher joined host JW Marshall to explore how HP is navigating the intersection of education and technology and helping elevate education from K-12 all the way through professional education.

Like everyone in the industry, Belcher said the COVID-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on the state of education and the technology that powers it.

“There are some market dynamics that don’t make sense to us, yet,” he said. “I think everyone was feeling pretty decent [before COVID]. … When COVID hit and everyone quarantined and went home, whether that was from school or work or whatever, I think, honestly, people have handled this far better, in many cases, than I expected.”

Still, there was a particular area that caught Belcher and others in the industry slightly off guard – “how at-risk many of our businesses were.” In particular, he cited retail, hospitality and travel as industries that have struggled to keep pace with the shifting environment.

However, other industries, such as additive manufacturing, are showing great promise and an elevated willingness to engage in the types of forward-looking planning and execution that will drive results.

Those results will be dependent on continuing education, including the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce that will facilitate all that growth.

“I think things will kind of morph. First off, your low-skill, repetitive manufacturing jobs – those are going to be a thing of the past, and we have to think that way and be smart enough not to try and regenerate jobs that don’t have a future,” Belcher said. “What I think this allows us to do is scale printing or manufacturing in small-scale levels, but it requires far more skill.”

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