The banners hanging from the street lights say simply,
“Think and Do.”
It was the welcome participants received as they gathered at the Hunt Library at N.C. State University for the second day of the 31st Annual Emerging Issues Forum. It was also the mantra for a two-day event that encouraged participants to THINK deeply about educating and training North Carolina’s next generation of workers and to DO something, proactively and collaboratively, to make sure the diverse workforce of tomorrow was equipped and ready to lead our state.
The first day of the forum featured economists, policymakers, elected officials, entrepreneurs, who spoke to the crowd filling the Raleigh Convention Center about the need to train our state’s youth and young adults for the jobs of tomorrow and encouraged the participants to think creatively about the delivery of education and the importance of public/private partnerships in connecting more young people to a meaningful, living-wage careers.
Throughout both days, several themes were repeated over and over again, two of which resonated more than others:
The next generation of jobs in this state will require innovative ways to connect education and real world work experiences, and
Tomorrow’s workforce will be more diverse and it’s important to embrace that diversity and see it as a strength.
“When you have diversity you have more innovation. Diversity breeds innovation.” — Vivek Wadhwa, fellow at the Arthur & Toni Rembe Rock Center for Corporate Governance, Stanford University
“Our whole concept of all our students being on a single pace needs to be left behind.” — Anya Kamenetz, writer and education blogger at NPR_Ed
“We need to think much more creatively about how our public schools are organized.” — Charles Reigeluth, professor emeritus in education, Indiana University
“We get into a false dichotomy between science and the liberal arts. We need both. Not either or.” — Mary Grant, chancellor, University of North Carolina at Asheville
“Think big, start small, move fast. Public policy on entrepreneurship needs to be entrepreneurial.” — Philip Auerswald, associate professor of public policy, George Mason University
“For the first time in history, the current generation is doing worse than previous generation in terms of skills and education.” — Dambisa Moyo, economist and author
“We are not using our unique and extrodinary diversity to our global advantage.”– Henry Rock, executive director and founder, City Startup Labs