Future of Work Opinion

America Succeeds Reports on Education Pathways for the Future of Work

By Tom Vander Ark — October 25, 2017 3 min read
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America Succeeds is a national nonprofit that elevates America’s business voice for the dramatic improvement of public education. They’ve been studying the #FutureOfWork and recently released Age of Agility: Education Pathways for the Future of Work.

Report highlights include:

  • What is the Age of Agility? We are in the early stages of a rapidly accelerating revolution that will bring automation and artificial intelligence into sectors of the workforce that have, until now, been spared this latest wave of disruptive change.
  • Why is this a big deal? The disruption we’re just beginning to experience will rival any technological upheaval in history in both scope and impact. Millions of jobs are at short- or medium-term risk of disappearing. Many that don’t disappear will be so radically restructured as to be unrecognizable, with enormous implications for today’s workers.
  • How to prepare? To thrive in the future workforce, which is being drastically redefined by technological advances, workers will need to get comfortable with uncertainty, embrace flexibility, and reset expectations about the employer-employee relationship.
  • What does it mean for employment? The response to this challenge must be a societal one that resets expectations about employment and embraces a new mindset for what it means to be employable, which has as much to do with adaptive interpersonal behavior as it does interacting with technology in the workplace.

    Deloitte explains it this way:

    The report includes four well crafted profiles of future workers. They stress the importance of taking initiative, managing projects, and continuous learning.

    Executive Director Tim Taylor said the report was designed to be peddle in the water. He’s seeing interesting ripples and starting to have community conversations about the implications.

    In the Age of Agility, America Succeeds calls for:

  • Agile people: Everyone will have to take ownership of a continuous cycle of learning, finding work, relearning and finding different work.
  • Aware and inspiring people: Balancing perspectives while inspiring confidence in others. The ability to present cogent, persuasive arguments in written or spoken form is key.
  • Personalized learning: K-12 systems must redouble efforts to ensure all students leave elementary school reading, writing, and calculating on-par with their peers in the world’s top-performing countries.
  • Networks of truly diverse schools: Integrated, inclusive schools are ideally positioned to help young people gain diverse perspective and understand that wisdom may be found in unexpected voices.
  • Restructured secondary and postsecondary learning: Access to lifelong education and retraining, including practical hands-on experience.
  • Community conversations: A call to action to establish education policies--funding, human capital, access to information, quality options, credentialin.-- that better align the knowledge, skills, and behaviors taught by the education system with the actual needs of the local and global workforce.

    America Succeeds launched AgeOfAgility.org to provide information and share success stories. The site and report are short on the need to develop entrepreneurship but they are the best call to action for business to date. The site suggests that business and civic leaders support community conversations that set education policies for learning outcomes, credentialing, funding, human capital, and quality options. The report urges strategic partnerships with K-12 and HigherEd to inform their offerings, improve alignment, and provide resources that optimize learning.

    For more see the #AskAboutAI Series including:

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    The opinions expressed in Vander Ark on Innovation are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.