Empowering CUPE 2950 Members: Navigating the AI in Today’s Workforce 

By Marat Raimkhan

In today’s rapidly evolving work landscape, Artificial Intelligence (AI) stands as a transformative force, revolutionizing industries and reshaping job roles. The McKinsey Global Institute projects that by 2030, approximately 70% of companies will have joined the AI revolution, integrating at least one form of AI technology into their operations. A study by Amazon Web Services and research firm Access Partnership found that hiring AI-skilled talent is already a priority for 73% of employers. At the same time, at least 14% of employees globally could need to change their careers due to digitization, robotics, and AI advancements.  

While concerns about automation often dominate discussions, AI brings numerous advantages for workers such as enhanced productivity and efficiency, therefore, consider upgrading your skills to stay informed and equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in this new era. To boost work skills, you don’t need a deep technical understanding like a PhD-level primer on deep learning, neural networks, or natural language processing. Rather, all you need is a grasp of the basic AI principles relevant to your job to excel in an AI-driven economy. Fortunately, there are numerous educational resources available to help understand and leverage AI technologies – find some links to courses and resources below:

Artificial intelligence (AI) Course by UBC Extended Learning – at UBC, you can enroll in Certificate and Micro-Certificate programs focusing on Artificial Intelligence in Digital Media, AI and Society for a Greater Good, and Artificial Intelligence Cloud Solutions Strategy.  
Reminder – you can use your tuition waivers as credit towards Extended Learning Courses.

Google offers a free introductory course on generative AI that explains the technology without delving too deeply into technical details. The course includes: explanation of generative AI and its functioning; introduction to large language models (LLMs) used in many generative AI applications; overview of responsible AI principles and Google’s application of them. 

Amazon introduced AI Ready initiative that aims to provide free AI skills training to 2 million people by 2025. They offer eight new, free AI and generative AI courses suitable for different skill levels and job types, covering basic to advanced topics for both business leaders and technologists. These courses supplement the existing 80+ free and affordable AI courses and resources on AWS.  

Intel aims to equip over 30 million individuals with AI skills by 2030. As a step towards this goal, the company offers numerous free self-paced online courses covering topics like deep learning for robotics, deep learning, and natural language processing.  

Intro to AI for Marketers is a free online class by Marketing AI Institute. Despite its marketing focus, it’s relevant to any knowledge worker. In just 30 minutes, learn how to understand and start using AI. Topics covered include defining AI’s significance, identifying use cases, evaluating vendors, understanding business outcomes, measuring AI tool value, and preparing for AI implementation. Next class is on Wednesday, June 26, 2024, 12pm ET/9am PT.  

Popular online platforms also offer a wide range of courses and educational programs: please check Coursera (specifically, “AI for Everyone” by Andrew Ng, one of the top minds in AI, that introduces beginners to AI fundamentals), EdX, Udemy, Udacity, LinkedIn Learning.  

Don’t forget, you can utilize staff professional development funding for paid courses. 

By embracing AI and investing in education and training, our members can harness its benefits to create more productive, and fulfilling work environments. As AI continues to evolve, consider upgrading your skills to adapt and seize the opportunities it presents, ensuring a brighter future for the workforce.