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WorkforceRx Live Book Launch: Free the Data

WorkforceRx with Futuro Health
WorkforceRx with Futuro Health
WorkforceRx Live Book Launch: Free the Data


Van Ton-Quinlivan, CEO of Futuro Health and host of the show, is also author of the best-selling book, WorkforceRx: Agile and Inclusive Strategies for Employers, Educators and Workers in Unsettled Times. In this episode, Van welcomes leading workforce and economic development experts to discuss the strategies and insights from Chapters Nine and Ten that resonated most with them. Check out their lively discussion about freeing and sharing data within an organization to guide improvements; building infrastructure to help gig workers thrive; the role of labor unions in scaling solutions to workforce challenges; adopting a shared ownership model to overcome inequality in income and assets, and much more from this powerful new playbook for the future of work. Joining Van are: Omid Pourzanjani, Superintendent and President of San Joaquin Delta College; Anthony Dalton, Vice President & Chief Data Scientist at Futuro Health; Kathy Booth, Project Director at WESTED; Ann Volk, Senior Director at Alvarez & Marsal; Sara Skvirsky, Research Director at the Institute for the Future; Dave Regan, President of SEIU-UHW; Howard Brodsky, CEO of CCA Global and Lenny Mendonca, Former Chief Economic and Business Advisor for the State of California.


Van Ton-Quinlivan: I am just so delighted to have the company of longtime colleagues as panelists today as we’re launching my new book, WorkforceRx. Some folks ask me why have I written this book and why this book now? The pandemic has really wreaked havoc on our labor market, which already was in turmoil beforehand. Workers can’t find jobs. Employers can’t find workers. We need our nation to have all our engines revving to connect people with the right skills for the right jobs. There’s no more perfect time to get these workforce development strategies and these proven playbooks out since we do not need to start from scratch, and we can be working together in collaborative ways to build upon each other’s good works.

This is a moment in time when I’ll borrow a phrase from a former colleague, where you don’t want to “post and pray” that there’s a talent pool on the other end. There are many best practice strategies that are proven that can be employed in order to ensure that you have the talent pool when you make that job posting.

The book is structured in a set of challenges and solutions. So, you have ten chapters presenting challenges and then solutions to those challenges. I’m very proud — and I think that the crowd that is here to join me on Chapter Nine might agree — I’ve actually made data really interesting because it’s all about alignment of monies, metrics and data to get the policy intent realized for the workers and the students.

There’s a lot of money flowing right now, but it won’t actually flow in the way we want and result in the outcomes that we all want unless we have some intentionality and redesign the monies, the metrics, and the data so that they’re in alignment. I’m looking forward to having the guest speakers on Chapter Nine speak more about that.

Then, Chapter Ten, “Getting Ahead of the Gig” — it’s so important to be thinking about the future of work. Our nation is creating and growing jobs but, unfortunately, they are jobs without assets like healthcare and retirement. So, what are the social and human infrastructures that are missing for workers so that we can stabilize households? You’ll hear concepts like worker co-ops and community-subsidized training. These are types of experiments that we need. Once we understand these experiments, and what works, we can then begin to scale them in bigger ways.

So, with that, let me tee up my very distinguished list of friends and longtime colleagues. First, I have asked them to give us a fun fact. What keyword would you use to find this book, whether it’s on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Google? And then they are going to answer this question: What insight story or strategy resonated most with you and why?

All right, let me introduce a set of colleagues for Chapter Nine. Omid Pourzanjani, back when he was with Golden West College, took a big risk and brought his knowledge from the field in the community colleges up to the State Chancellor’s Office. For two years, he commuted from Orange County in Southern California to Sacramento in order to help the system design tools that would result in the outcomes that we all desired.

Anthony Dalton is a brilliant data scientist and leader who was a part of a big effort with Kathy Booth at WESTED to design the LaunchBoard, which was a very, very heavy lift in order to bring alignment to data and bring data tools to the system. He’s now with Futuro Health, which we’re so thankful for. In the book, you’ll see him discussed as part of the critical team that created the LaunchBoard.

And part of that team was led by Kathy Booth. Kathy has a real talent for being able to bring diverse stakeholders to come together and talk about data and translate data into an understandable language.

Ann Volk, who is with Alvarez & Marsal, is gifted in being able to understand technology infrastructure and brought a lot of insights to the Chancellor’s Office when we were thinking through our digital infrastructure.

Rounding them out will be our panel for Chapter Ten. We have Sara Skvirsky with the Institute for the Future which is mentioned several times in the book as having catalyzed a set of new thoughts and creative thoughts as I went along in my journey, and I wanted to thank Sarah for being a part of that.

Dave Reagan of SEIU-UHW, a union of 100,000 workers. Dave, you had the prescience to be able to think through what the role of the union is in growing the next generation of healthcare workers. You have been thinking about what are the structures that are needed to stabilize workers, so thank you for that.

I met Howard Brodsky as I started to explore worker co-ops. What are those structures and why do they work so well in many countries, and what can they do in the United States?

And finally, Lenny Mendonca. Lenny is probably three degrees of separation from, I think, half the people in the country. He served with Governor Newsom’s team as chief economic and business advisor, and was with McKinsey & Company before that. But I wanted to do a specific call out that he was instrumental in creating the Future of Work Commission, which really looked at a whole range of these issues for the State of California.

So, with that, let me tee up Omid. Why don’t you get us started?

Omid Pourzanjani:  Good morning, everyone. Van, you said that I took a big risk in coming to the Chancellor’s Office. I say that I did not. I saw the kind of work you could do and your desire to do what’s right for the system. That was absolutely a pleasure and like a gift. I was so happy that you invited me to come work with you at the Chancellor’s Office.

It’s great to be among this fantastic group. I’ve had such a pleasure working with people like Anthony, Ann, Kathy, and of course, Van. But a few sort of lessons learned from this. One big key thing that resonates with me is the whole notion of moving the needle, having gauges. I just don’t know how you could operate any organization — you couldn’t even drive a car without having a speedometer or a gas gauge — so you have to have these gauges that are functional and accurate, right? Without a speedometer, like, every moment you don’t know if you’re going to get pulled over or you’re going to get honked at because you’re going too slow.

So, I think the first thing for us, which was really important, was freeing the data. People like Rock Pfotenhauer and myself started talking with Van about how critical it was to release the data to the field. The data was moving in one direction and we needed the data freed. I think it should be critical in any organization that wants to build dashboards that are meaningful and that can inform decision-making. Freeing the data is a constant thing. I think there are those people who believe that data is like gold. They want to protect it. They want to limit access to it and we’re constantly fighting that. Data needs to be released so that people can see how the institution is performing.

The other thing for us was to build the data in such a way that was useful for the field.  Kathy is incredible in bringing the field together, listening to them, presenting stuff, and then coming back and working with Anthony to constantly refine the system. I think this, again, is critical in any organization that wants to build a data infrastructure that’s meaningful. You need that constant evolution and refinement to the data.

And then it was important for us to connect as much data as we could so we could see patterns.  If you think about our business, it’s important for us to see the whole continuum along the students’ educational journey and employment journey. So, in connecting them with jobs, it was really important seeing that data for us.

I want to state something that Van mentions in her book. The community college system in California is the largest education system, with 2.1 million students. So, if through this work we could make a 1% difference in the people that come to us, get educated and get a job, and if we could get a 1% difference in the number of people who could get a better job and move from low income to middle income, that would be 20,000 people. 20,000 people is a significant number of people that we could impact. So, any percent that we could move that system was important to us.

There were a lot of parts to this, but I think probably the most important thing to me was Van’s vision to see the importance of data in bringing about change to an organization this massive in scale, and then funding it and sticking with it.  That’s definitely a key to this work. I can’t thank Anthony and Kathy enough. They’ve been with this work at least a decade that I know of, and beyond. By continuously improving, working with the field, building trust and relationships with the field they brought what we have today to reality, which is these gauges that are helping us see the performance of the system.

In something like the California Community Colleges, the bureaucracy is monstrous, as you can imagine. I think the work that Ann Volk did in helping to work through the logistics, and the contracts, and the outcomes of this work and refining that work for us was critical. So, kudos to Van for bringing the team together that’s made this happen. All of those ingredients that I talked about, and Van talks about in her work, are critical to making something like this happen in any organization. So, Van, thank you for inviting me.

Van: Well, Omid, you can’t see me smile, but I am smiling big because you have said some of the key phrases in my book like “move the needle” and “free the data.” I just love that you have inspired us with these brief but very insightful comments.

Let me turn it over to Anthony.

Anthony Dalton: Hi, all, and thanks for letting me be here. Omid captured a lot of what I think we all would say. It was a big effort. In 2014, the first version of what we built wasn’t great, right? It didn’t go over well and it captures a lot of the reasons in the chapter titles that you mentioned before. It was data through a firehose. People weren’t used to seeing information, let alone their own laundry — whether it was dirty or clean — and there was this period of acceptance, grief, anger, and frustration.

I think our first version — and I don’t want to steal any of Kathy’s talking points — but it was blinds of data. It was just data point, column, column, data, data, data, data, data. Even if the data was perfect, people weren’t using it. It was a research-based idea for general consumption. I think why it flopped, and why it needed to improve, is that it had to start with engaging people.  People have to consume any data for it to have any value. If not, you could be really smart with a lot of good information that nobody’s going to use and it’s worthless.

We had to be bold and, Van, I think you move the needle. If anybody comes in now, they don’t have to go through all the scary words, legal ramifications, and all those things. Now, it’s moving and now people are comfortable and people now have a baseline that they can improve off of. I think this is the move that we had to do. So, could it have been better? Absolutely. Did it have to fail? I kind of think so because literally, it wasn’t even a tool. It was a thing that was on a web page with information.

The process that Kathy and Omid help us lead was getting feedback, and getting people information at a high level where they can digest one thing. They said, “Oh, enrollments look like this. Okay. Let me see a little bit more.” They took another step in. “Okay. I’m a little bit more comfortable. Now, I see it.” So, they take another step in and another step in, and then you get down in this bottom level.

It’s what every company needs to do, right? We need to free the data, but we need to make it actionable. We need to make it something that they can move the needle from, and we also need to make sure that things were defined properly from the start. That way, when people use that information, they’re using it for the right peeks. I’m sure everybody’s seen that before, where people talk about a data point…we talk about it one way, somebody thinks it’s another thing and then things get out of whack. It was a lot of hard work that wouldn’t have been able to get done if you weren’t bold, Van.  You got a lot of push back, but I think it’s here to stay, and I’m excited to be a part of that original build-out of it.

Van: I’m so appreciative Anthony of all the work that you have done. It was just a rapid prototype. I mean, we had to fail and we failed fast on version 1.0 and that was okay because it got redesigned and we made version 2 0. As I wrote in the book, “Mikey liked it” and so we were able to scale adoption.

With that, let me turn it over to Kathy Booth.

Kathy Booth: Thank you. I’m so glad to follow up on Omid and Anthony’s comments because Van had a vision that I think we didn’t have in our minds when we started building the LaunchBoard. We were so focused on what it was going to take to get access to the data and present it in a way that made it easy to use. But Van said to me afterwards, “Well, what are we going to do to help people actually do something with this information?”

We put out this campaign that we called “Find It, Understand It, Use It” because we realized that the first thing is, people had to even know what was there. Then we had to build their data literacy so they understood what they were saying. But the hardest part was figuring out what to do with the information once you actually could see it.

I was really glad Van told the story in the book about a session that I did in San Diego. I was working with this group of really dedicated practitioners and we started out looking at the information that they were more used to seeing. They were doing this great job of having a lot of different people in their program and getting them to completion. But when we started looking at the employment and earnings numbers, this totally different story emerged. There were lots of people getting jobs but they were not making enough money to even take care of themselves. They we’re not making enough money to pay for rent, food and healthcare.

I was watching the practitioners really wrestle with this information because it was so confusing. They were succeeding according to the rubric, but when they looked at the data about earnings, I remember one person just saying, “Stop.” She just like stopped the conversation because people were starting to say “Oh, we’re educators. What are we supposed to do about employers and the economy? It’s so much bigger than us at our college.” Then they really dug in and they started thinking about what do we have control over and are there ways we could tweak what we offer, or the way we help students get to employment, that would change these outcomes?

I think that’s exactly what we need to be doing right now because there are lots of jobs out there, but a lot of them are not good jobs. They are those low-paying jobs with no career opportunities. And what Van is describing in this book is how you begin to scaffold so that people can get to jobs that are both what we need to help our communities rebuild, but also give people agency to have the kind of lives they want to live, and that’s just so important right now. So, thank you, Van.

Van: Thank you, Kathy.  Your philosophy is reflected even in the name of the LaunchBoard. It wasn’t some dashboard that was static and you can discard. It was a LaunchBoard to launch conversation, as you explained, and that’s when the insights come.

Ann Volk is next.

Ann Volk: Hello everyone. Van, you asked me to pick one word that I would Google in order to find your book, and it’s “transformation.”  I think that if I could pinpoint one thing about you is that you are a transformation agent. This book, as well as your body of work, really represents that.

I love the entire storyline within Chapter Nine. I couldn’t pinpoint one story to represent, and it’s really because in order to measure what counts — to expunge bad data, to make data agile, actionable and equitable — you must modernize data infrastructure and data services. Within Alvarez & Marsal, in our education practice, our mission is to transform the educational ecosystem, and data infrastructure and service modernization is just one aspect of that.

Through the work that we did with the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and my opportunity to work with you and Omid and Kathy and Anthony — as well as other state level agencies and coordinating boards — we’ve been able to develop a repeatable reference architecture based on modern patterns that are used.  What we see in the example of the California Community Colleges is that through the lens of institutions, researchers and advocacy groups — and in the consumers and the contributors of data — you create the architecture that’s going to be flexible and agile. What this means collectively, which I’m really excited about, is that we are at a critical juncture of unlocking P-20 (Preschool to College) data state-by-state. That is really going to enable the reimagining of the education-to-career pathway and the leveling of the workforce supply/demand equation.

So, everything about this book is exciting to me in the work that you’ve done so far. It absolutely requires strong, innovative, willing partnerships, and that’s one thing that you’ve done so brilliantly, Van, is to really bring together the right minds at the right time to push this forward. So, congratulations to you on this book, and I’m honored to be here with this group today.

Van: Thank you very much, Ann. I’m so glad that you point out the importance of really modernizing digital and data architecture because that’s so key to agility these days.

Now that we’ve had a chance to dive deep into the data — and I’m sure all of you got goosebumps about what was achieved — let’s go big now and talk about the future and future-proofing the workforce. So, Sara Skvirsky, you’re next.

Sara Skvirsky: Absolutely. Thank you so much, Van, and congratulations on this incredible piece of work and all of the work that went into it.   Ann, you’re highlighting the willingness and the partnership, and some of the keywords and phrases that really struck me were “human infrastructure” as well as “ecosystem of the willing.” I think both of those are just so representative of everything that has been done by you, Van, by bringing together all of these incredible partners to achieve things that really wouldn’t be achievable otherwise.

You asked us to think about an insight, story or strategy that resonated most with me, and I’m actually going to reference a quote from Howard Brodsky, who will be speaking in just a moment. In Chapter Ten, you’re speaking to him, Van, about there being a poverty of economics and a poverty of hope. Howard says what co-ops do is they address both of these issues. They also give you the scale without losing control, and give you the tools you need to compete against any large company in the world. I really love this part, when you’re talking about worker coops, as a solution for gig workers.

At Institute for the Future years back, I participated in an ethnographic research study called “Voices of Workable Futures.” We interviewed people who were doing work in the gig economy in areas from cleaning homes to high-level consultant to selling on eBay to just hustling or driving for Lyft and Uber. We saw that more and more people are going to be living lives in this sort of “on-demand” way, and we were trying to understand what pieces are needed for them to really thrive.

It’s something that people were really missing…that idea of ownership, or they felt like they were being jerked around by companies that didn’t have their best interest at heart and they didn’t know where things were going. So, the idea of being able to have more worker ownership and more people who are able to access things like healthcare and make the big decisions about where they want their companies to be going is huge. That’s something that’s really stuck with us.

We’ve been thinking about this at Institute for the Future for quite a while. Marina Gorbis — who’s our executive director and also wrote the foreword to your book — is launching our Equitable Enterprise Initiative. The goal is trying to understand how we can do these types of things that you’re talking about, Van. To boldly experiment, to find new solutions, to create more equitably distributed and worker-centered enterprise models for the future.

Finally, I want to just go back to the idea of poverty of hope, which Howard referenced in that quote. That’s what we try to do at Institute for the Future. I think it’s so important, and it’s what you’re trying to do, right, Van? You’re saying let’s be realistic about what’s changing around us, but then also saying we need to be able to think big and bring together all of these different pieces from all different parts of ecosystems together who might not work together on a normal basis. That’s how to create these visions of hope that we’re thinking about instead of saying it’s doomed or these people never work together and they never speak or play nice. Let’s just go in and trust each other and get excited and try to create these visions of hope out there for the future of the workforce. So, those are some of the things that stood out to me. I think it was just such a powerful chapter about where we need to continue to hold on to hope to move forward.

Van: Thank you so much, Sara. As you can see, every time you touch the Institute for the Future and the individuals associated with the Institute, it inspires creative thinking and gives you space to think about possibilities beyond what you originally considered. So, thank you, and keep doing that, Sara.

Howard, I think you got a really good introduction from Sarah!

Howard Brodsky: Van, thank you very much, and Sarah thank you for your insight. I obviously agree so much that there is poverty of the economy and of hope and if they’re not aligned you have a workforce that just is drifting. First of all, Van, I think your book is so relevant in today’s world and so incredibly important.

I think the part that resonated most with me was you said, “The real affliction in America is suffering not just from income inequality, but asset inequality.” I think that is so true today. The gig workers not only don’t they have the assets of benefits, but they have no ownership. Therefore, in ten years, fifteen years, they don’t have retirement benefits, and they have no ownership. They have no control. They have no voice and I think co-ops are the one answer.

So often, cooperatives are misunderstood. Cooperatives are really a shared ownership business model. As I look at a big part of our economy, I call it the extraction economy. The extraction economy is one piece taking an unfair piece for what they’re doing. There are so many sectors where that fits.  For instance, the home care industry. Agencies get $35 an hour, and the care worker gets $15. All they’re doing is placing, frankly. They’re not training, they’re placing.

You take the security business where guards are standing outside a bank or inside of Walmart or inside anywhere else…the company is getting paid $30 to $45 an hour, and the workers generally across America are making minimum wage — under $10 an hour. That is the extraction. They are providing almost no services and taking all the money out. There are so many cases like that and it amounts to millions and millions of people.

I think the key is not getting people from $13 to $15 an hour — because, frankly, at $15 an hour you can’t live — it’s getting people from $15 an hour to $30 an hour where they have control of their own life, they have benefits, and they have ownership. I think what we have to do is invest in changing the structure. Training is one part of it, but if you actually change the structure so these people could set up their own ownership structure, there’s an enormous opportunity that literally probably affects about fifteen to twenty million Americans.  But it needs an investment.

In my view, people need subsidies, but they don’t want subsidies. Yes, we should give people that need it food stamps or income subsidy, but that doesn’t change their structure in life. One of the reasons people have not come back from the pandemic to work is, they realized that they wanted a better life. They don’t want to go back to what they had. A lot of people out of the workplace are trying to understand how they can go back to a better world then the one they’ve been in. I believe shared ownership structure is that better world. If we invest in having them have ownership then they have control, they have hope, they have assets, and they have income equality and opportunity.

We’re living in a country that has the greatest inequality of any advanced nation in the world, and it’s only getting worse. Within the last twenty years, 90% of all the wealth has gone to the top 1%. We need to change that and we need to change the very structure of what we’re doing. As I said, I think in most cases, it’s not people that actually need more equipment. You don’t have to build infrastructure. We need to invest in a new way that’s going to change their lives.

So, I think what you’re talking about, Van, in your book is so critical for the future of America and the world, actually, to make a better life for everybody and have more quality, sustainability and opportunity.

Van: Thank you, Howard, for putting out the caution that we don’t have to grow the extraction economy in our future. So, Dave, what do you think about that?

Dave Regan: Well, I agree with Howard, just to put a fine point on it.  I think it’s easy to become cynical. We have enormous and growing inequality of every variety in the United States. We have income inequality, we have asset inequality, we have healthcare outcome inequality — pick your metric and the outcomes that we get are fundamentally skewed and the trend lines are heading in the wrong direction, not the right direction.

I work for a healthcare workers organization, as Van said. We have about 100,000 members across the state of California. I won’t repeat the kind of the tale of woe that is the story of the American labor movement over the last 50 to 75 years, but we’re an institution that’s in decline. We’re an institution that is not set up to meet the moment, or in Van’s phrase, to operate at the speed of need, let alone business. Hopefully, our organization is trying to solve the problems that Howard and Sara and Van have articulated, which is how do we build new organizations and how do we build new combinations of organizations so that we do our part to reverse some of the trends and some of the outcomes that we’re seeing.

As a union, our fundamental mechanism that we engage in is collective bargaining. But in the last few years, we’ve been using our collective bargaining process to try to create the resources to own the front end of the worker production pipeline in the healthcare industry. Along with Van and others on this call, we created Futuro Health, and we’ve secured about $150 million of investments through collective bargaining to help train the emerging health care workforce. We think of ourselves as a community of healthcare workers, starting with our 100,000 members. If you think about their households, we’re talking about half a million people. Many of those folks are interested in having a different sort of opportunity and to get trained in a different way both in terms of competency-based skills acquisition, but also in terms of having a different career path that’s tied to a community of peers.

We’ve also created a healthcare workers co-op called AlliedUp and we’re starting to place people. AlliedUp itself is a unionized co-op represented by our organization, but we’re thinking about how to return that gap — the $15 that the security worker, the home care worker is getting versus the billable rate, which is $35, $40, $45 an hour.  How do we invest that back in the workforce? So, we’re at the front end of that. All of that is a way to say that it’s not enough to have an idea. You have to actually build organizations and build institutions and get out there and give people a different set of opportunities.

We believe also that collective bargaining is one piece of what’s needed, but it’s not big enough. There’s only about 10% or 11% of American workers in unions. Inequality of all forms is rising and we have to build institutions and organizations at a scale that meets the scale of the problem. Frankly, I don’t think collective bargaining is offering that solution. I think co-ops can be scaled in a way that traditional unionism can’t. I think there are other forms of organizations that can be scaled. And I think one of the values and the contributions that Van has made with her book is to get us all to try to rethink what we’re up to.

We all operate in a country and in a society with a workforce of 160 million people. I appreciate Howard quantifying and thinking about what’s the scale of the opportunity. There are easily twenty million people out there that can be put into something that I would call worker organizations — whether those are unions, whether those are co-ops, whether they take some other form — that offer people a fundamentally different value proposition, to use a term that the business world likes to use.

I think the book and this conversation can hopefully spur imagination. But what we really have to do is we have to create a new set of organizations and institutions. We have a target-rich environment out there. There is no shortage of problems to take on, and hopefully this is part of an ongoing conversation that really gets us all to think about how to do something different. I would just add, there’s the speed of business, there’s the speed of need and then there’s the scale of what is necessary, and we also have to deal with the question of scale. I think we’ve been falling way, way short on that. So, those are my thoughts and thank you, Van, for the invitation.

Van: Thank you so much, Dave, for really putting attention on this question of the type of worker organization that can operate at the scale and the magnitude of the numbers that we highlighted at the beginning of this session.

Now, we’re going to turn it over to Lenny. Lenny you have the hardest role, which is to do the wrap up here!

Lenny Mendonca: Thank you, Van. I’m happy to try and do that. It’s always a challenge to follow my friend Dave Reagan who I think of as not only the most provocative, but the most innovative leader from organized labor who’s really putting his action behind his words and trying to make a difference at scale for the issues that you surface.

As I was searching for this book on Amazon and Google, I did the normal things that you might do like “workforce solutions books” and it showed up at the top of the list. But what I really wanted to search for is the real rarity of books that intersect policy and business, and are insightful, practical, and readable. The number of books that actually combine those things are extraordinarily limited. Most books have interesting titles because that’s what publishers come up with, but they really don’t have any insight in them, and if they do, its theoretical and not anything that’s remotely practical or has any early-stage evidence that can actually work. And, if they have those two things, they’re completely unreadable.

Well, fortunately, this book is all of those. It’s insightful. It really lays out clearly the nature of the challenge we’re facing. It’s very practical and that’s because Van and the other colleagues that are on this call who have been part of the construction of Van’s experience actually have really done these things. It’s not a theoretical conversation. It’s actually an experience-based one. I did not realize you were as good a writer as you are, Van. The book is embedded with your voice and your stories in a way that makes this real and interesting. So, I really encourage this as a road map to how we can actually make a difference on the challenges that Dave suggested.

As Van outlines in this book — and as we tried to surface through the Future of Work Commission with some great support from Institute for the Future — even before COVID, we were in a system that needed some dramatic change if we’re going to meet the nature of the challenges that Dave outlined and you talked in the beginning of this session. Since COVID, college-educated workers have recovered and have more jobs now than they had before COVID. Those without college education are still four and a half million jobs short of what they were before COVID, and black women are the most disadvantaged in this environment.

As Albert Einstein famously once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. We cannot do that. I’m inspired by this book. I’m particularly inspired by the examples in Chapter Ten. I love your quote that “unsettled times serve as good moments for experiments that have proven successful to be taken to scale and reinforced by public policies.” I think all of those elements are essential and outlined in the pathway that you described in the book. This is an unsettled time. It was before COVID, and COVID just put a punctuation mark on that.

There are examples of experiments that are making a very interesting difference that you outline in the book, and the work at Futuro Health and the co-op that Dave described are good examples of that. We really do need to take them to scale and we need to get our public policies, our data, our funds, our collective understanding of what’s possible and our aspiration aligned. So, Van, it’s a pleasure to be part of this and thank you for writing this great book.

Van: Thank you so much, Lenny, for creating the urgency for us to act and to experiment.

Let me begin the closeout of our process which is all about asking for your help to spread the word. We know the big numbers and the big challenges that all of the speakers have talked through. There are proven solutions and proven strategies, so please help us get the word out that they exist so people can put them to use and that, collectively, we can rise to the challenge of the moment.

With that, I would really like to, one more time, express my appreciation to all my friends and colleagues who came here today to join me in this celebratory moment. It’s so special to me that you were able to share your thoughts on this book because you have been part of my journey.  I also want to extend my appreciation to everyone who is in the audience and hope you got a bit of insight from this session. So, thank you, everyone, and have a good day.