CES 2024: The nation’s top priority is a tech-ready workforce

Barbara Humpton, Siemens USA CEO joined WorkingNation at CES 2024 to share her thoughts on the potential impact of tech on the way we work and live

Amidst all the technological advances in the manufacturing industry, a tech-ready workforce tops the national priority list, says Barbara Humpton, president and CEO, Siemens USA. “We’re making huge investments in the U.S. in things that matter. We’re forming a new foundation of the economy, and it’s going to take a workforce capable of riding the wave of growth and development.”

Humpton joined WorkingNation’s editor-in-chief Ramona Schindelheim for WorkingNation Overheard at CES 2024 in Las Vegas to share her thoughts on how technology is changing the manufacturing industry and how Siemens is keeping up with the changes.

“We’ve been focused on at Siemens is how do we bring the tools of modern technology into the fields we work in, in a way that enables more people to participate and be productive, more people to be makers and creators,” she says.

She offers an example of new workforce tech announced at CES. “Siemens and Sony together have produced a virtual reality headset suitable for engineers. It’ll be used in the industrial metaverse. Think about how you’ve been playing video games. What if engineering can feel more like playing a video game, but purpose-built for the engineering environment?”

Humpton adds, “There are a lot of people who don’t even know that a career in manufacturing could be fun. We’re hoping to capture the imagination of people, perhaps, early in their career choices, and bring them into this field.

“We put them alongside folks who’ve been in this field for 40 years or more, who understand the deep issues and the challenges of manufacturing. Put those two skillsets together, and now we create magic,” she tells WorkingNation.

The United States is Siemen’s largest market, accounting for 25% of all of its business worldwide. It employs close to 50,000 people in the U.S. and recently expanded its manufacturing operations in Fort Worth, Texas.

Humpton says it’s “new manufacturing for electrical products going into the data centers that are powering the AI revolution, building new rail facilities so that we can make the new rolling stock that’ll be needed in high-speed rail and what Amtrak has running across the country. (There are) really inspiring new roles to be filled.”

Humpton offers this advise to all employers facing tech changes in their industries. “Don’t be afraid of the technology that’s being presented to us. We know that there are issues to be worked out with AI, with the creation of the industrial metaverse, but we know how to put those tools to use in very constructive ways. This is going to elevate the role of people in the world that we are creating.”

Learn more about Siemens USA.
Learn more about CES 2024.

Funding for WorkingNation Overheard at CES 2024 was provided, in part, by Walmart.