Are we sending too many people to college — or not enough? How can we better equip learners with the skills they need for today's jobs? What role should business play in transforming education after high school? In Lessons Earned, Ben Wildavsky and his Strada Education Network colleagues sit down with educators, employers, and policymakers who are challenging the status quo and exploring bold ideas to help all Americans navigate the path from learning to earning.
7. Salesforce’s Ebony Beckwith on taking a different path
Growing up in San Francisco, Ebony Beckwith attended an academically selective high school where most of her classmates were university-bound. She opted for a different path, heading directly into the workforce while winding through several community colleges before realizing she needed that four-year degree to reach her career goals. Today, Beckwith is chief philanthropy officer and CEO of the Salesforce Foundation where she leads a global team and directs hundreds of millions of dollars in grants focused on education and workforce development. It’s time, she says, to reimagine education so it serves the lifelong learner and embraces multiple pathways between learning and working.
6. Gerald Chertavian on Building Career Pathways for Low-Income Youth
Gerald Chertavian believes every young adult has potential and deserves a clear pathway to a great career, whether through college or directly into the workforce. And as founder and CEO of Year Up, he’s proving that with the appropriate training and employer support, it can take as little as one year for “opportunity youth” — 16- to 24-year-olds who are neither working nor in school — to move from poverty to a well-paid, in-demand career, often with a Fortune 500 company.
5. David Deming
There’s no shortage of big, ambitious ideas for creating an education-workforce system that improves upward mobility for more people. Harvard education economist David Deming uses hard data to stress test those ideas and see what might work, and what probably won’t. We talk to him about what he’s learning and what he recommends we do right now to improve the value of education for an increasingly diverse workforce.
4. Reynold Verret
Historically, the path to a college degree and upward mobility for Black students usually led through a Black college or university. Even today, with mainstream institutions welcoming many more racially diverse students, HBCUs remain a driving force in launching Black leaders, including Vice President Kamala Harris, a graduate of Howard University. To find out what HBCUs can teach the rest of higher ed about student success, we sit down with Reynold Verret, the child of Haitian political refugees who grew up to become president of Xavier University of Louisiana, a small HBCU that is the nation’s No. 1 producer of future Black doctors.
3. Michelle Weise
In the not-so-distant future, workers will make dozens of career changes over a working life of 75 or even 100 years. Michelle Weise, an expert on the future of work and author of “Long Life Learning,” says human skills like communication, creativity, and teamwork will remain critical in an era when robots and automation take over routine jobs. What’s more, workers increasingly will need to learn new skills rather than assuming a degree early in life will carry them through.
2. Michael Collins
Long before JFF’s Michael Collins became an education-workforce policy expert, he was a Black kid living in Hartford, Connecticut, bussed to school in the white suburbs. The experience, followed years later by a stint teaching low-income Latino students in Texas, drove home the racial and economic disparities he’s been working to solve ever since. In the midst of a pandemic disrupting education and work — especially for low-income people of color — we talk to Michael about how to equip people for jobs today without closing off opportunities to advance in jobs of the future.
Have thoroughly enjoyed this podcast and it’s relevancy to the changes needed and attempted in education and the workforce.
Episode 1: Freeman Hrabowski
I've only listened to the first epsiode so far, but really enjoyed the discussion with Freeman Hrabowski. Covered important issues in higher ed without becoming overly wonky or academic. Will definitely listen to subsequent episodes!