The transition to electric and autonomous vehicles is leaving a generation of workers behind.


Amanda Kalhous and Rebecca Keetch joined General Motors Canada within a year of each other. Over the past 15 years, they’ve survived layoffs, a government bailout, and the company’s bankruptcy. Today, they’re living through something more fundamental: the biggest shift the auto industry has seen since the invention of the assembly line.

This time, only one of them has a future in it.

In any other generation, the thousands of employees being laid off by GM in Oshawa, Ontario, could easily be retrained for work elsewhere in the sector. But hard work and a solid education are no longer enough to hold onto a job in an industry that technology is upending.

GM knows what it needs to secure its future, and it’s not Rebecca, a production operator at the Oshawa factory with a community college diploma, plus 18 months of university, who places two belts on an engine every 108 seconds. It’s Amanda, an electrical engineer with two university degrees and 24 patents to her name who oversees a team that designs software for the next generation of vehicles.