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There has never been a stronger need for workers to adapt. To keep up with the speed of change, we must be prepared to shift into new job roles and pick up new skills. Traditional approaches no longer suffice. Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan interviews leaders and innovators for insights into the future of work, future of care, future of higher education, and alternative education-to-work models. We will need to draw on our collectively ingenuity to uncover ways to develop work, workers, and economic opportunity.

Finding qualified workers has become a chronic and deeply concerning struggle for U.S. employers, but as our guest on this episode of WorkforceRx sees it, this is a self-inflicted problem. Byron Auguste, a PhD economist and former White House economic policy official, says the skilled workers are there but are routinely screened out of the applicant pool by hiring processes that only consider those with college degrees. “When you exclude people who don't have a bachelor's degree, you're excluding almost 70 percent of African-Americans, 80 percent of Latino and Latina workers, and almost 80 percent of rural Americans of all races,” he says. That’s why the non-profit he co-founded and leads, Opportunity@Work, is asking employers to dip into the overlooked talent pool of the 70 million Americans who are Skilled Through Alternative Routes (STARs). “This is the golden age of new ways to learn new skills, and yet you have these very old, backward-looking bases for hiring. We need to have hiring catch up to learning.” Check out this compelling and thought-provoking conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan on transitioning from a pedigree-based to skills-based approach to hiring.   Listen Now
“I think we have a moment in this new decade we are in to start fresh when it comes to how we build our economies and build our communities and build our society,” says Shalin Jyotishi, senior policy analyst at New America. An important part of this fresh start is to further connect workforce development with the nation's R&D and doing so beyond the nation's tech corridors. Jyotishi says universities and community colleges have a role to play, but so do faith-based organizations, unions and state governments. A self-described public interest technologist, he counsels against being afraid of the rise in automation in favor of seeing people as the ultimate arbiters of how technology is applied. Join Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan for this insightful exploration of emerging ideas in education, training, tech and public policy that could reshape our economy and society for the better.   Listen Now
As signs of economic recovery in the U.S. continue to build, some experts are predicting a “jobless recovery,” while others are more optimistic about job growth. Will hard hit sectors bounce back? What changes do we need in job training and education to spur a post-pandemic economy? For answers to these and related questions, Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan turns to Stuart Andreason on this episode of WorkforceRx. As director of the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Andreason tracks changes in the economy to determine what skills workers and businesses need to be successful. This research also informs policies and programs to help people succeed in the labor market, especially low-and moderate-income workers. “What we strive to be is a bridge between the research and the real world. We want to learn from what people are doing in workforce development and bring promising practices back to the research that we're doing to hopefully learn from and maybe find ways to commit some support to those practices.” He and his Fed colleagues around the country have also developed tools to help people research job opportunities that do not require a degree and discover options for career mobility based on their skills.    Listen Now
Dr. Sunita Mutha thinks if health care providers consistently asked themselves one question, it would lead to reducing health disparities based on race, income and other factors: “Who does this advantage, and who does this disadvantage?” In her extensive research at the intersection of health disparities and quality improvement, she’s come to understand there are predictable things providers do that influence inequities in care. Looking at the current COVID vaccine rollout provides a fresh example. “If your main strategy is to reach out to patients electronically, it leaves out people who don't have online access, who might be monolingual, who might be elderly and isolated. You could have predicted who you would leave out by the strategies you chose to use." As director of Healthforce Center at the University of California San Francisco, Mutha works with organizations nationwide to reduce disparities and build a culturally-competent workforce, but also to address a wide range of other challenges in healthcare, from the impact of electronic health records to nurse staffing ratios. As she explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan in this episode of WorkforceRx, training emerging leaders is another special focus at Healthforce Center. “They are the glue that keeps an organization functioning and effective. They mobilize the frontline teams. So, in our training we try to instill in them both confidence and skills so they can be really effective.” Check out this episode for an expert view of current and future workforce challenges in healthcare, and the role of research and capacity-building to meet them.   Listen Now
What if there was something business owners could do to boost employee retention 65%, increase worker loyalty and perfectly align company and employee goals? Oh, and by the way, give people a sense of hope and increase their wealth at the same time? Well, according to Howard Brodsky, that “something” is using a shared ownership model. Brodsky, a globally recognized pioneer in cooperatives, co-founded and leads CCA Global Partners, one of the largest retail companies in America serving over one million family businesses. The profitable $12 billion organization is the parent company for 14 other businesses in flooring, carpeting, lighting and other sectors, including child care. In this revealing conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton- Quinlivan, Brodsky describes creating a new economic environment where instead of subsidies to repair the damage caused by chronically low wages, there is shared ownership and prosperity. “I think there has to be more distribution of wealth at the base level, not distribution after somebody makes a fortune and they decide where they want to give money to. People need opportunity, not subsidies.” Brodsky says the model is much more resilient in tough economic times, too. With an estimated 25-30 percent of family businesses failing in the U.S. during the pandemic, the closure rate among CCA Global’s members is only 1- 2 percent. This is a conversation that will leave you thinking.   Listen Now
“We know from history that technology both creates and destroys jobs, and we don't know what will happen this time around,” says Jamie Merisotis, author of the new book Human Work in the Age of Machines, “but I do think we should be more interested in the work that humans can do, because that is clearly something we can control by better preparing people for that human work.” That preparation needs to focus on nurturing “foundational human capabilities” that set us apart from machines – compassion, empathy, ethics and creativity to name a few. As he reveals in his book, Merisotis believes the end result can be a collaborative relationship between workers and technology. As President and CEO of Lumina Foundation, Merisotis has been a driving force in increasing access to post-secondary education not only for its economic benefits but because of the role education plays in cultivating the critical thinking essential to a functioning democratic society. Check out this revealing conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan about rethinking how we can restructure education, work and benefits to better meet the challenges and opportunities upon us.   Listen Now
For someone interested in the interplay of technology and healthcare, the timing has always been right for Dr. Ashwini Davison. Implementation of Electronic Health Records was just starting to take off when she was an internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins a little over a decade ago. As the adoption of EHRs and digital health applications rose, so did the potential for big data as a tool to advance medicine. Opportunities opened for her to help healthcare companies analyze data to enhance efficiency and improve patient outcomes. “My career naturally progressed to being at the cutting edge of the ‘next big thing’ whether that be clinical informatics or, subsequently, online education and precision medicine.” She’s now at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine and the School of Public Health creating learning programs and opportunities for students at the intersection of healthcare, technology, education and research. If you’ve wondered how AI, precision medicine, cloud computing and other innovations are impacting patients, you’ll want to check out this dynamic conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. You’ll also learn about a collaboration between Johns Hopkins, Futuro Health and Coursera to create a new entry level path into health IT careers, how virtual reality and mobile technology is applied to healthcare, and what she describes as the “challenging, exhilarating and rewarding” experience of helping professors and students successfully manage the abrupt transition to online learning made necessary by COVID.   Listen Now
“We want to empower every citizen to be able to make a decision about how they want to invest in themselves and the kind of career they want,” says Dr. Soon Joo Gog, Chief Futurist at SkillsFuture SG in Singapore’s Ministry of Education. That’s obviously an ambitious goal, but this small city-state has a reputation for pioneering new approaches to building a skills ecosystem. To achieve it, the government gives every citizen 25 years of age and older $1,000 in credits toward education and skills training. That jumps to $1,500 in credits once you reach 40. The credits belong to the person, not an employer, making them portable throughout their life. She describes SkillsFuture, where she is also Chief Skills Officer and Chief Research Officer, as a national movement that later developed into a government agency offering job skills insights for individuals, businesses, education and training partners, and policymakers. One of her most important strategies is engaging with companies considered innovative to find out how their use of technology changes worker skills over time so SkillsFuture SG can work with educators to align training programs with future labor needs. Check out this fascinating conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan and one of the world’s leading workforce innovators to learn about the “trinity of partners” essential to her work, and the role smart dustbins are playing in Singapore’s high-tech, high-skill economy.   Listen Now
Spurred by heightened activism in 2020 against persistent racism in the U.S., many business leaders are engaged in a reckoning of their own policies, behaviors and corporate culture to determine how those might be contributing to systemic inequity and exclusion. Marsha Sampson Johnson, a leading diversity advocate and veteran corporate leader, has advice for those undertaking this work. “Diversity and inclusion can never just be a program. It can never be a department. If it is not incorporated into every aspect of the organization, it will never be successful.” Sampson Johnson, a retired senior executive from Fortune 200 energy giant Southern Company, has had an extraordinary career as an executive, mentor, writer and international speaker. In this trenchant conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, she shares insights gained from decades of providing leadership in HR, Talent Management and Diversity, discusses the impact of the pandemic on women in the workforce, and touches on the value of leadership development programs such as those sponsored by the International Women’s Forum where she spent many years as a Global Director.   Listen Now
As a longtime observer of the Washington political scene and a “go-to” expert on workforce and education policy issues, Andy Van Kleunen thinks that despite the country’s deep political divisions, it’s possible to make generation-defining investments in education and training to spur major employment growth. “There's not a lot of partisan divide on investing in the retraining of somebody who's been laid off and now has to look for a new occupation. We're talking about 80 to 90 percent approval for greater public investments in those kinds of efforts.” Drawing on lessons learned from previous recovery efforts, Van Kleunen believes more needs to be done this time to make sure economic gains are inclusive from a racial and socio-economic standpoint. The organization he leads, National Skills Coalition, also urges policymakers to follow what they have found to be the most effective formula for increasing skills and growing jobs: let localities and states in the nation’s 300-400 regional economies bring stakeholders together to determine where investments should be made. In this timely conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Van Kleunen taps into the knowledge gained from his national network of business, education and labor leaders to share the most effective formulas for economic development in this unique political moment.   Listen Now
Workers are showing the strains of social isolation, disrupted work and family routines, and sustained anxiety for personal safety -- all induced by the pandemic. Fortunately, employers are taking note according to Eva Sage-Gavin, a former Fortune 500 executive who now advises C-suite leaders on talent strategy for Accenture. Sage-Gavin says employers are realizing they need to take a "whole human" approach to HR to navigate through this crisis of human resilience, and address employee needs for connection, relationship, and purpose if they are going to keep their workforce productive. In this revealing episode of WorkforceRx, Sage-Gavin and Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan – who first met a decade ago serving on President Obama’s Skills for America’s Future initiative – discuss a new global partnership to connect displaced workers to jobs, the worrisome “she-cession” as women drop out of the workforce, the enhanced impact of modern boards, and a key ingredient to helping employers solve problems in these extraordinary times.   Listen Now
When he first started trying to score clinical research data in the mid-1980’s, Stanford University neuroscientist Walter Greenleaf was using a ruler, pen and paper. Now, thanks in part to his pioneering efforts, similar research can be conducted using virtual reality and augmented reality devices. These technologies are also being integrated throughout medicine, including treatment for various mental health issues, a special focus of his. For instance, patients can be exposed to anxieties or fears through carefully designed virtual environments, allowing them to build confidence while clinicians gauge their progress. Greenleaf, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University's Virtual Human Interaction Lab, also sees broad potential for using virtual environments in workforce development and training, from handling difficult people and situations to bridging cultural gaps. Join Futuro Health’s CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan as she draws fascinating insights from Greenleaf gathered over decades of groundbreaking work in academia, technology development and medical product development, and find out what two skills he believes will open doors for healthcare workers in the decades to come.   Listen Now
Bryan Hancock has spent the last two decades focused on the disconnect between the skilled workers employers need and what is available in the workforce. As Global Leader of McKinsey & Company's Talent Management Practice, he’s able to tap into the firm’s deep research on workforce trends to advise private and public sector clients and what he’s seeing is an even larger skills gap developing as automation and digitization take over a significant portion of what he calls “the dull and dangerous” work. In fact, McKinsey estimates 30 to 40 percent of all workers in developed countries may need to move into new occupations or at least upgrade their skill sets significantly in the next decade.  Despite that daunting challenge, he’s not discouraged because many large employers are making big investments in employee learning opportunities, and technologies like Virtual Reality are creating fun and effective options for training. He’s also encouraged by growth in the “workforce ecosystem” – independent foundations, companies, and other organizations who are innovating to close gaps in skills and opportunity. Check out this episode of Workforce Rx as Bryan and host Van Ton-Quinlivan explore all of those issues plus the growing importance of soft skills, the impact of the gig economy, and how employers can take a “talent first” approach.   Listen Now
You can’t have an effective response to public health challenges without putting racial and social equity at the center of your approach, and one key way to do that is supplementing the healthcare workforce with “trusted voices” from underserved communities. That’s the view of Dr. Rishi Manchanda, a public health veteran and healthcare leader whose career has focused on developing new strategies to improve health in resource-poor communities. Through a mix of frontline and leadership positions, he's helped provide care for homeless veterans, immigrant workers in rural areas, and communities in South Central Los Angeles. As an author and CEO of HealthBegins, he’s become a leading national voice on shifting the focus of our healthcare system to “upstream” causes of poor health status – such as access to quality food and housing -- and creating equitable access to care. Check out this illuminating conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan to learn about “upstreamists”, the workforce-equity connection, and what COVID is teaching us about our healthcare system.   Listen Now
If you want to know how employers are changing their thinking about educating workers in the wake of COVID, Jaime Fall is in a great position to tell you. As director of the Aspen Institute’s workforce development initiative Upskill America, Jaime is constantly in touch with some of the 5,000 businesses in the program’s network and he has plenty of news to share with host Van Ton-Quinlivan in this episode of WorkforceRx with Futuro Health. From diversity to digital literacy to new safety protocols, businesses have many targets for training and advancement practices that were not necessarily priorities pre-COVID. And have you heard of the new trend in “outskilling”? Jamie is here to fill you in. Bottom line: as the pace of change continues to accelerate, companies need to invest in a culture of learning so their workers will have the skills they need to be effective and productive.   Listen Now
A Q&A with host Van Ton-Quinlivan on the origins of Futuro Health’s groundbreaking model for growing the healthcare workforce, and the innovative ways Futuro is building onramps to education for adult learners.   Listen Now
Van Ton-Quinlivan reveals that her deep appreciation for educational opportunity is rooted in experiences making a new life in the U.S. after her family fled the Vietnam War. Helping others access the same transformational opportunities is her life’s work, and led to her guiding a billion-dollar workforce development program in the largest higher education system in the country, and becoming the founding CEO of Futuro Health.   Listen Now
Host Van Ton-Quinlivan describes what’s in store for listeners in this new interview series with national leaders and innovators in workforce development.   Listen Now