Education, Disrupted

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How are American businesses going to address the growing skills shortage?   We’ll examine some of the most important trends likely to reshape education and skills development across industries. 

Employers are reporting sizable skills gaps in all parts of their operations, at all levels, and they can’t seem to fill them by simply hiring new people. In the tight labor market that prevailed until the COVID19 crisis, there were about 7 million open jobs in the United States for which companies were struggling to find qualified candidates because applicants routinely lacked the digital and soft skills required to succeed.

This tells us that helping employees keep pace in the face of rapid technological changes like automation and artificial intelligence is challenging, The struggle is made more difficult as companies wrestle with how to retain top talent, a critical differentiator in a hypercompetitive environment.

No wonder a staggering 77 percent of chief executives report that a scarcity of people with key skills is the biggest threat to their businesses, according to Price-Waterhouse-Coopers.

As a result, companies can no longer afford to wait for the traditional “training system” to supply the workers they hope will help shape their future; the need is too acute and too urgent, particularly given that many higher-education institutions remain in denial.

That means we must change how the United States educates both traditional college-age students and adult learners.

Last year, when 4,500 people gathered at the ASU GSV Summit in San Diego to discuss innovation both in education and in talent development writ large, it was clear that the companies in attendance were eager to find alternative paths. At this conference, political leaders and policymakers join CEOs and VCs to discuss the imperative of investing in human capital. Entrepreneurs in attendance work fervently to sell their wares or make deals, the likes of which have fueled a sharp increase in global mergers and acquisitions of education and talent development companies, up in total value from $4 billion in 2008 to $40 billion in 2018. Executives from leading companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Workday, and Salesforce.com...

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