Wednesdays at 9 p.m., beginning Sept. 1
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, a new PBS series explores the accelerated pace of change in the workplace and the potential for long-term impact on workers, employers, educators and communities across our country.
Prior to the start of the pandemic, a team of award-winning filmmakers at public media powerhouse GBH had begun exploring the experiences of American workers across industries, generations, geographies and pay levels. The resulting multi-platform series, “Future of Work,” makes its debut Wednesday, Sept. 1 on Arizona PBS and the PBS Video app. A digital companion series that follows mid-career adults as they navigate the rapidly changing work landscape is available now on the PBS Voices YouTube Channel.
“Future of Work raises critical questions and explores compelling diverse individual experiences,” says GBH Executive Producer and series creator Denise DiIanni. “We provide expert perspectives to help us understand what the future holds for the U.S. workforce and why that matters in today’s world.” Is the right to work a human right? Is the future of work about entrenched haves and have-nots? What are the merits of college vs. training programs in preparing for the jobs of tomorrow? How do we protect and preserve employment opportunities that sustain families, communities and the nation – fundamental aspects of the American Dream?
“Future of Work” explores these and other questions with profiles of millennial, single-parent and other workers, in addition to leading economic, employment, training and technology experts. The three-part series travels to locations across the U.S., from New York City to Kentucky, to Stockton, California and Fargo, North Dakota with many more stops along the way. GBH’s DiIanni notes, “Each episode illuminates what it means to work, chronicling individual stories before and throughout the pandemic, documenting a range of Americans’ experiences.”
In the first episode of the broadcast series, we meet Chris Francis. After losing his job of 30 years in finance and accounting, Francis has become a seasonal worker. Like Fern in this year’s Academy Award®-winning “Nomadland,” he travels to where he can find work, including at an Amazon return center, navigating a new “vanner” lifestyle. In another episode, we see the impact of advanced technologies on several industries, including health care, as Michael Jobst uses a robotic arm to conduct surgeries. From the operating room to the farm, Sara Lovitz, a fourth-generation farmer, uses an automated tractor to optimize her family’s output, exclaiming “No hands!” as she shows us how the tractor drives itself.