The Impact of Private Investment in Workforce Development

The practice of impact investing — also known as socially responsible investing – has been in place in the U.S. for decades, but more recently, a subset of that field has focused on improving economic mobility.  In this episode of WorkforceRx, Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan is joined by Tracy Palandjian, CEO of Social Finance, who is focused on reimagining the role of the capital markets in enabling economic progress. “Our societal challenges are so vast, they require more than what philanthropy and the government can give. So, increasingly, people are asking the question, “What is the role of investors in driving social change?” Tune in to learn about a new way to fund education and training called Career Impact Bonds, collaborations at the state level to support workforce development in key industries, and how these efforts are targeted at people who face significant barriers to workforce participation. This is a great opportunity to learn about innovative alternatives for funding a critical need as labor shortages continue to challenge the U.S. economy.

Continue reading

Katie Nielson, Founder of EnGen: Tapping into the Hidden Workforce

As U.S. employers continue to struggle to find workers, they may want to turn their attention to populations who have the skills they need but lack proficiency in English. This describes many people in immigrant and refugee populations who are currently overlooked by employers and make up part of what is called the “hidden workforce.” On this episode of WorkforceRx, Katie Nielson, PhD, joins Futuro Health CEO Van Ton Quinlivan to describe how she works with employers to tap the potential of this talent pool. Nielson has a growing sense of urgency on this issue due to the fact that by 2030, every baby boomer will have reached retirement age and 97% of net workforce growth will be immigrants and their children.  “The biggest barrier to integration in general and, definitely to promotion and advancement in the workforce, is English skills,” she says. “If we think about English as something that we can do to help upskill our workforce, then we’ll be able to get those learners not just the English skills but also the workforce skills that they need to succeed.” Tune in to learn about Nielson’s blend of tech-enabled study and interaction, the wisdom of taking a “backwards design” approach, and how workplace-based language programs can help employers achieve goals around diversity, equity and inclusion.

Continue reading

Maria Flynn, President & CEO of Jobs for the Future: Now Is the Time to Ask the Hard Questions

The combination of a unique economic moment and major new funding out of Washington is creating an opportunity to rethink workforce development policies and programs. But will the tough questions be asked that will lead to a significant reshaping of the nation’s approach? Maria Flynn, president and CEO of Jobs for the Future, is hopeful, but is not yet seeing the “blue sky redesign” discussion she thinks is necessary. “We are largely operating public systems that were designed for a different era. A lot of the conversations now are about funding but are not questioning those underlying assumptions of ‘are these the systems that we need for today and the future’? My answer to that is largely no,” says Flynn.  There’s a lot to learn in this probing conversation with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton Quinlivan about transforming American education and workforce systems, the growing corporate role in education, helping employers deliver on diversity, strategies to boost innovation, taking a regional approach to economic development and much more.

Continue reading

Scott Cheney, CEO of Credential Engine: Creating Order in the Credentialing Jungle

It’s estimated there are one million unique credentials in the United States when you count all of the degrees, certificates, licenses, badges, and apprenticeships offered. But how are employers, educators and learners supposed to determine their validity and whether they might actually help someone advance economically? “It’s our job to make sure information about credentials is accessible in a web-based format and comparable so employers and others can make their own determinations about what’s valid for their purposes,” says Scott Cheney, CEO of the nonprofit Credential Engine. One upside of having a robust, transparent basis for comparison of credentials might be the erosion of entrenched biases toward the value of degrees over other qualifications. “It might be that a really good apprenticeship or an industry license is what you need in order to advance your own preferences and goals.” As he explains to Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, Cheney thinks more and better data on credentials will also enable customized career pathways and make it easier to see the fundamental value a person brings despite restrictions they may face in access to education. This episode of WorkforceRx is a great opportunity to learn more about this increasingly important area of education and employment and how it might empower learners and job seekers from all backgrounds.

Continue reading

Ryan Craig, Managing Director at Achieve Partners: Designing Solutions for 10 Million Unfilled Jobs

If you’re wondering why there are ten million unfilled jobs in the U.S. despite having an unemployment rate above pre-pandemic levels, Ryan Craig has part of the answer: traditional higher education is too expensive and can’t keep up with changes in the labor market leaving millions of Americans in need of other ways to obtain the skills that will lead to good jobs. Craig, a prominent investor and thought leader, captures the frictions impeding learners and employers — and offers solutions for them — in both his book A New U: Faster + Cheaper Alternatives to College, and in regular columns for Forbes and other leading publications. But he’s not just writing about these issues. Through his firm Achieve Partners, Craig is working to create modern apprenticeships facilitated by intermediaries between the education and employment sectors.  “If you can fast forward a decade and imagine dozens of new apprenticeship pathways emerging in tech and healthcare, I believe we’ll have a very different view of socioeconomic mobility and the American dream.” Join Craig and Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan for a provocative discussion about learning and earning that touches on last mile solutions for students, a GPS for human capital development, “talent as a service” and innovative companies on which to keep an eye.

Continue reading

Chad Evans, Council on Competitiveness: We Need a 10x Boost in Innovation

“We’ve got 200 million Americans who are not benefiting from what we think of as the most important engine of growth in our economy – innovation,” says Chad Evans, executive vice president and secretary to the board at The Council on Competitiveness. That reality helped spark creation of the Council’s National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers which has already developed 50 recommendations to put in place the talent, capital and infrastructure necessary to increase U.S. innovation capacity. Small steps are not in the mix. In fact, the Commission is calling for a 10x improvement in innovation leadership, the pace of innovation, and the number and diversity of Americans engaged in innovation, among other goals. Check out this expansive discussion with Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan to learn how broadband access, AI, higher education and hiring practices fit into the strategy, and how the U.S. can better position itself as a global innovation leader.

Continue reading