Exploring Issues Sessions

Sunday, March 26, 11:00 AM – 12:15 PM

How do the major social and economic issues of our time tie into the challenges that the workforce system is facing? In the Exploring Issues Sessions, we explore these core issues and consider how best to achieve a vision for the future through interactive sessions led by experts, facilitators, and innovators on the front lines of solving complex workforce development challenges.

Systems Leadership in Complex Times: What Does It Really Take To Build Tomorrow’s Workforce?

While workforce leaders are engaged in helping businesses and industry improve its own talent pipeline and career paths, the field itself has few strategies for developing its own talent—specifically its leadership. The multi-dimensional complex challenges facing America’s businesses and workers require unprecedented collaboration among organizations, industries, community organization and government. Join colleagues from across the country to discuss what it takes to be a system leader, what skills and competencies are required, and how to facilitate networks of trust and collaboration. Join us for a discussion of the opportunities, threats and challenges facing today’s workforce systems leaders as they navigate the new economic and political environment.

The Current and Future State of Economic Mobility

Concerns and uncertainty around economic mobility and opportunity were a strong current underlying last year’s Presidential election. This session will provide an overview of mobility in America followed by a robust discussion of the challenges and opportunities moving forward, including the impact that advances in technology and automation will have on individuals and families already struggling to advance in today’s economy. Join the discussion of challenging questions such as: What do we need to do differently to help reverse the trends we are seeing, and to help “disrupt the disruption” coming our way? How should our current education, human services, workforce and economic development systems be interacting differently, or disrupting themselves, in order to promote and contribute to mobility and opportunity for all? How do we do this as we simultaneously address economic mobility and prepare for the future of work?

Exploring Technology’s Influence on How We Learn and Work

The pathways from education to employment are undergoing a revolution. For example, there has been an explosion of activity around skill-based-hiring and jobs that utilize stackable-credentials and digital badges. These trends create rich opportunities for employers, individuals, training providers, and educational institutions that are ahead of the curve – but also bring about confusion and uncertainty. How can workforce boards take the lead among learners, educators, and employers to navigate emerging ‘proof of learning’ tools and technologies? How can we best map skills acquisition to employer needs? Join this panel of innovative technologists and educators for concrete ways that we can use digital learning and credentials as a springboard for economic growth and job success.

Capturing the Hearts, Minds, and Imaginations of America’s Next Generation

We continue to see nearly more than 6.5 million opportunity youth who do not participate in the labor market and lack the skills needed to compete in the workforce. At the same time, we are facing a shortage of qualified talent for middle skills jobs, which has elevated the visibility of workforce training and increased interest from employers for those with in-demand credentials. Although inroads have been made in the areas of apprenticeships and career technical education to support this interest, how can we nurture this willingness among employers to advance opportunities for lower-skilled younger workers? How can we increase the visibility of these opportunities among youth to create a viable labor pool with the required skills? Draw on the expertise of a national panel of experts who understand that bringing workforce development, critical skills training, and business entities into an aligned partnership can shape the landscape of talent and open doors of opportunity for the next generation.

“We try to make it to the Forum every year. We bring back so much new information and knowledge that we can use in our work as a board.”

~ Ted Taveras, Board Chair, Workforce Solutions - Heart of Texas