Curtis Johnson, Senior Fellow at Education Evolving: It’s Time to Upend Current Models of Education

For those concerned about teacher burnout and retention issues in K-12 education, Curtis Johnson has seen an innovative model in action that could provide an answer: let teachers run the schools. Johnson, a veteran educator, policy analyst and author, says there are already several hundred such schools in twenty-three states, what he describes as a slow growing movement. While interviewing staff at these schools for his book A New Deal for Teachers, he heard a consistent message. “They first convince me that they’re working harder than they’ve ever worked in their lives and then they go on to say that nobody ought to ever take this away from them because they have more fulfillment professionally and personally. These schools hold on to most all of their teachers every year,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. Johnson is attracted to ideas that upend what he considers failing models of education, as you might expect from the co-author of Disrupting Class, which argues for shifting to a personalized and mastery-based approach. “Students today are so different from previous generations that you’ve got to treat them individually, yet in the current system of K-12, it’s not financially feasible to regard them as individuals and so personalization is something that people claim, but rarely do.” Tune in for a candid conversation about breaking the grip of centralized systems, how K-12 education should incorporate AI, and why he believes up to half of colleges and universities in the US will close in the next decade.

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David Jarrard, Chairman of Jarrard, Inc.: Keeping The Human Touch In The Age of Digital Communications

As almost any employer can tell you, today’s workers have high expectations for compensation, the quality of their work experience, and the level of work-life balance. Today’s WorkforceRx guest, David Jarrard, would add one key item to that list: they also expect to have a voice when organizations make important decisions. That means leaders have to engage with workers, not just communicate to them, and that requires creating opportunities for dialogue. “There’s ways for ideas to be shared back and forth so that even if the ideas that are shared aren’t the ones that are adopted, there was a sense of being heard, a sense of being listened to. We have found it to be extremely valuable to retention,” he tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. One of the best approaches is for leaders to rely less on the ever-expanding array of digital communications tools and take the old school approach of walking the halls. “To build trust you’ve got to look somebody in the eye. You’ve got to shake their hand. You’ve got to have that moment of pause where you can actually listen and be in the presence of another person. It’s a fundamentally important investment right now.” Tune in for a wide array of other insights from a seasoned pro that more than 1,000 healthcare organizations across forty-five states have turned to for guidance on how to communicate with internal and external audiences about restructurings, workforce challenges and other high stakes issues.

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Sheila Ireland, President & CEO of Philadelphia OIC: Empathy, Not Sympathy, In Workforce Development

“It is not enough to suggest that people who are unemployed simply need to get a job. For us, it’s about connecting to your understanding of what is your vision for yourself and your families? How do you add value, because you are valuable and we need your contribution,” says Sheila Ireland, president and CEO of Philadelphia OIC, a venerable force in the city’s workforce training landscape. Workforce development as a tool for economic empowerment and social justice is in the DNA of OIC, and it’s a philosophy Ireland, who has 30 years of leadership experience in human resources and workforce training, is building on as she tackles persistently high rates of poverty and unemployment in what is ranked as the poorest big city in America. As she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan, she believes the formula for success has to include high expectations of clients and private sector partners who can move trainees beyond the first rung of the career ladder. Tune in for a candid and super insightful discussion of best practices in workforce training and stay tuned to hear about positive signs in Philadelphia of growing job opportunities in the tech sector and higher ed institutions being more responsive to the needs of lower-income students.

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Karilyn Van Oosten, VP of Strategic Business Development at Unitek Learning: Partnering with Employers for Onsite Training

In the battle against declining enrollments and declining perceptions of value, higher education organizations need to be flexible and meet employers and students where they are, says today’s WorkforceRx guest Karilyn Van Oosten. Her company, Unitek Learning — a provider of workforce solutions and career training programs for the healthcare industry — is doing that literally by bringing its educational offerings on site to healthcare organizations in what it calls a “school in the box” model. “They’re able to go ahead and provide the setting for the clinicals and the skills lab, and we’re able to go ahead and provide the curriculum, approvals, faculty…all of the pieces that are necessary to be able to deliver the curriculum and have these individuals be practice ready the moment they graduate,” she tells Futuro Health CEO Van Ton-Quinlivan. As for providing value to students, Van Oosten says the key is understanding they want fast-paced educational experiences that allow them to move smoothly into the workforce. Meeting that need without sacrificing quality is the challenge. Don’t miss this compelling conversation in which Van Oosten also shares her insights on stackable credentials, ‘learn and earn’ programs, and other signs of flexibility in workforce training programs that are trying to deliver the healthcare providers we all need.

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Rick Brooks, Rhode Island’s Director of Healthcare Workforce Transformation: Creativity Born of Crisis

“Because of the workforce shortages, there is more creativity and more willingness to be innovative, and I think we can make something out of this crisis,” says Rick Brooks, who has his hands full leading Rhode Island’s efforts to strengthen and grow the healthcare workforce. His optimism is based on new levels of engagement by key stakeholders to find solutions and the formation of some unlikely collaborations to bring them to life. “For example, there are partnerships happening between higher education programs that have traditionally viewed each other as competitors to develop agreements that grant credits for non-credit activities,” he tells Futuro Health CEO and WorkforceRx host Van Ton-Quinlivan. He also cites licensure boards being open to rethinking education requirements for nursing faculty and the recredentialing of foreign trained health professionals, and other signs of innovation. In this expansive conversation, Brooks, a veteran labor educator, advocate and leader, shares strategies and insights on a wide array of issues including loan repayment programs, expanding clinical placement opportunities and redesigning career ladders with more, and more achievable, rungs so that people can stay in the healthcare field. It’s an impressive menu of options that might just inspire some creative thinking of your own.

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