Panel discusses Carson Center's impact on changing workforce

· 3 min read

Panel discusses Carson Center's impact on changing workforce

EMA Panel
Justin Mohling | University Communication
Ross Warren, founder-in-residence at Google's Area 120, speaks to audience members during a panel on workforce development at the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

Industry experts from across the country gathered Nov. 15 at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln's Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts to discuss the program's role in today's rapidly changing workforce.

The lunchtime panel was led by Nebraska native Preeta Bansal, senior adviser at MIT’s Laboratory for Social Machines, co-founder and president of Social Emergence Corp., and former senior policy adviser to President Barack Obama.

She was joined in conversation by Kyle Murphy, vice president of People and Corporate Communication at Hudl and founder of Nebraska VX; Ross Warren, founder-in-residence at Google’s experimental Area 120; Jeff Nicholas, vice president of creative and innovation at Live Nation entertainment company; Erica Larsen-Dockray, a media artist, educator, activist who co-founded the Calibraska Arts Initiative and Husker alumna; and Clint Runge, co-founder and managing director of Archrival marketing agency.

The six panel members discussed how skills developed by students in the Carson Center will be essential in the changing workforce.

Bansal said that while technological advances used to happen relatively slowly — moving from the printing press to the telephone in 450 years, and from the telephone to the computer in another 100 — today's changes are transforming the economy at a lightning-fast pace.

“We have vaporization of entire industries that are happening not just in cycles of 100, 200 years, but in cycles of five to 10 years,” Bansal said.

Nebraska's emerging media arts program is positioning itself at the forefront of those changes by training students for jobs that are just now being created or don't yet exist. The inaugural class of the program will develop skills in virtual production, interactive and mobile media, film special effects, game design, and augmented and virtual reality, giving them the tools to tell stories and solve problems on a worldwide scale.

Murphy, who helps recruit top talent for Hudl, said the program's future-driven focus is exactly what his company needs.

“The principles that this program and the center are based on — creative coding, systems thinking, design thinking, and being integrators who can bridge multiple disciplines together — are really valuable skills and training that will always be in demand. Hudl, and me in particular, want to support that type of activity,” Murphy said.

The center was officially dedicated during a ceremony on Nov. 17.

Another important aspect of the center, Nicholas added, is its unique capacity to educate students in an evolving economy. Young people entering the workforce won't be in the same type of role for many years; they'll be required to wear a variety of hats, which is reflected in the program's multi-faceted curriculum.

“We’re teaching people how to think differently and how to adapt. It doesn't matter what you're studying today — it matters how you're taking what's available to you now and where your imagination can take you,” Nicholas said.

The Carson Center was officially dedicated in a ceremony Nov. 17. Learn more about the program's opening and hear from founding director Megan Elliott.