/ Modified jun 9, 2022 3:37 p.m.

Automation could leave many Arizonans out of work, study warns

It also recommends the state invest more in job training to hedge job losses.

AZSCI_309_supply_chain_autonomous_truck_hero Autonomous truck technology road-tested in Tucson

Arizona is a hotspot for new technology in self-driving vehicles. A new study from the Grand Canyon Institute said that could put over half of transportation sector jobs in the state at risk.

It also said the state can soften that blow by providing more training for workers in that sector.

Max Goshert co-authored the study, and he said that in the short-term, more automation could help companies that have struggled to hire get more done. But it’ll eventually put people who rely on these jobs out of work.

"When automation starts to become more and more available to these companies, these people that previously relied on these jobs are not going to be able to rely on these jobs anymore," he said.

Most people in these roles don’t have a college degree. Goshert said adding more training programs that would help them work with automated vehicles would help them transition.

"One example is — Pima Community College District has this really great partnership with TuSimple. They develop this new certificate program, which trains truck drivers to operate in autonomous trucks," Goshert said.

He recommends more community colleges develop similar programs and that the Arizona Commerce Authority’s Institute of Automated Mobility expand its mission to address the needs of workers.

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