In July 1998, a series of one-on-one interviews with business and education leaders was
conducted to gather input about the challenges, emerging solutions and barriers surrounding
the region's Workforce-education issue. Later that month, a Leaders' Meeting was convened
to provide a forum for these leaders to exchange ideas about the future of the region and the
changes required across business, higher education and in the K-12 system to
prepare the region for the New Economy.
The purpose of the July 29 Leaders' Meeting was to explore the question "What does the region
need to do to prepare our people for the New Economy through our education system?"
Participants expressed the need for action for a regional educational infrastructure in the
Communication and collaboration among industry and education
- Industry must identify its future workforce needs and requirements, and effectively
communicate those needs to education. Specifically, industry must define:
- who is being trained - current employees vs new employees
- what must be taught just-in-time skills vs long-term education
- Industry needs to better articulate what it seeks in a relationship with education. For
example, do businesses want to facilitate recruitment, increase community involvement,
heighten employee morale, etc.
- Industry and education should strive to understand each other's parameters and communicate
expectations within the context of those parameters.
- Administrators and teachers, regardless of subject matter, must better understand the
business environment which they are preparing students to enter.
- Industry and education need to develop personal relationships to facilitate collaboration
and continual dialog.
- Education needs resources (financial, physical and intellectual) to implement innovative
programs to meet industry needs.
Advocacy for innovation in the delivery of information in an evolving learning environment
- Educational environment must be changed to encourage more partnership-building activities.
- Additional incentives need to be created for educators to engage in non-research oriented
- Education should be more 'facilitative' and less 'directional' - teach students to learn
and think critically.
Workforce preparation to ensure a global competitive advantage
- Students need to be prepared to enter the Workforce of the future no matter when they
complete their formal education.
- Students should receive an education in which baseline knowledge and interpersonal skills
balance technical literacy.
- Students need to develop a work ethic early in their school career.
- Successful workforce entrants must have the ability to learn and adapt skill sets quickly.
- Workers must adapt to new workplace as technology facilitates the ability to hire the best
talent regardless of geographical location.