Professional Development and Competence Management Unit

Second Annual Labor Policy Conference Addresses New Competences for Future Labor Markets

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The Center for Digital Work (ZdA) held the annual conference in the "Future Centers" program with a dialog and interaction-oriented program

The second Annual Labor Policy Conference in the "Future Centers" program took place on June 22, 2021. This year, over 200 participants from across Germany attended the live stream of the digital event, which was held in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS).

Since 2019, the Center for Digital Work (ZdA), the Regional Future Centers and the Haus der Selbstständigen (HdS) have been supporting eastern German stakeholders in mastering the digital transformation. In addition to the organizations, the focus is on employees and the framework conditions for good work in the transformation process.

This year's motto, "Moving into the working world of tomorrow with new competencies", put new company design and learning approaches in times of digital transformation at the center of the event. Representatives from politics, science and corporate practice exchanged innovative ways and experiences for the future of work. The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) also featured prominently in the online event.

At this year's event kick-off, Björn Böhning, State Secretary at the BMAS, explained his perspective on the project: "Small and medium-sized enterprises need a special form of support in the change processes that are imminent as a result of digitization and the further spread of artificial intelligence. I hope that the good examples have motivated some companies to try out innovative concepts together with their employees or to contact the Future Center in their region directly. Because we want to support small companies in particular with the task of structural change and their qualification strategies."

Opening of the event with State Secretary Björn Böhning and host Dr. Julia Kropf at the 2nd Annual Labor Policy Conference in the "Future Centers" program.

This year's keynote was held by Dr. Norbert Huchler (Institut für Sozialwissenschaftliche Forschung München - ISF) on the topic of "Digital transformation through more humane work - how new technologies and skills can complement each other," which was followed by a panel discussion on the topic of "What kind of learning and work culture do we need?" The discussion covered issues such as competencies for changing requirements, the promotion of a new learning culture, and corporate HR work and training strategies of the future.

Panel discussion with Dr. Norbert Huchler, Dr. Julia Borggräfe, Michael E.W. Ney, Dr. Julia Kropf and Nancy Mühlenberg (f.l.t.r.).

In the six panel discussions, participants also gained insights into the work of the Regional Future Centers, the "Haus der Selbstständigen" (House of the Self-Employed) and the Center for Digital Work, complemented by topic-centered contributions from science and practice.

The panel "Knowledge Economy and Competence Management - Drivers in the Digital Transformation" was supported by a contribution from Prof. Dr. Thorsten Posselt (Institute Director of Fraunhofer IMW and holder of the Chair of Innovation Management and Innovation Economics at Leipzig University), a contribution from the Center for Digital Work by the two research fellows Dr. Dirk Förster-Trallo and Tom Herzberg (Chair of Innovation Management and Innovation Economics at the Leipzig University and Fraunhofer IMW) and a report from the project NAWID by Martina Schmeink (Managing Member of Das Demographie Netzwerk e.V. - ddn). In addition to the presentation of projects, findings and transfer possibilities from science and practice, the main focus was on the exchange with the participants in the panel. The recording of the panel can be accessed here (German).

The program was complemented by creative entertainment on the topic of "Man or Machine". In interactive parts, all participants were asked to guess whether pictures, a piece of music or even entire contributions in the context of a poetry slam were created by a human being or the "digital pen" of an AI.

A review of the annual conference including video recordings is available here (German). The full recordings of the individual contributions in the event can be accessed here (German).

Project Financing

The “Center for Digital Work” project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and the European Social Fund as part of the “Future Centers” program and is additionally co-financed by the Free State of Saxony, represented by the Saxon State Ministry of Economics, Labor and Transport.

Project Partners