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TRACK: Workforce/Skills Development

The old systems and tools underpinning the U.S. jobs market are not only inadequate to keep up with the pace of job growth and the required skillsets to succeed, but also have reduced productivity, undermined national talent potential and forgotten low-income and minority populations to a large extent. The new reality and landscape of our workforce is not widely understood, leading to ineffective communication across employers, educators and individuals. Americans of all ages need new pathways to gain 21st century skills and employers of all sizes need new pathways to connect with 21st century talent. New Fourth Sector models and cross-sector collaborations can strengthen the nation's workforce, allowing the United States to compete on a global scale and remain a land of opportunity. To place more Americans in skilled, middle-class jobs, we need to address three challenges:


Skills deficit

Millions of Americans need to obtain skills that will help them secure middle-class jobs, especially workers without a college degree, those currently in low-wage jobs, underrepresented minorities, veterans, and the long-term unemployed. In addition, K-12 training should be aligned with what is required for college and career readiness. Youth need to gain 21st century skills (both soft and technical skills) to meet the demand for the jobs of today and tomorrow.



Workforce/Skills Development


Philip Auerswald, Senior Advisor, The Kauffman Foundation


Tom Kalil, Deputy Director for Technology and Innovation, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy


Melanie LeGrande, Senior Director, Corporate Responsibility, Silicon Valley Community Foundation


Jim Mayer, President and CEO, California Forward


Maeve Miccio, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Silicon Valley Community Foundation


Lenny Mendonca, Director Emeritus, McKinsey & Company

Maeve Miccio, Vice President, Corporate Responsibility, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Accessibility of training

Participating in training programs is prohibitive for many workers who cannot afford out-of-pocket costs for tuition and other expenses, and the opportunity costs associated with not working while they are training.



Many employers of all sizes have difficulty locating skilled talent.



The workforce and skills development track will address a number of questions, to include the following:


  • America’s hotspots of innovation are often referred to as “ecosystems” because of the diverse network of individuals and institutions that are involved in the development, commercialization, financing and scale-up of new products and services, including research universities, entrepreneurs, accelerators, angel and venture investors, large firms, and providers of specialized professional services. How can for-benefit models play a role in creating and/or supporting an ecosystem that gives Americans more skills they need for middle-class jobs?


  • What information platforms must be enhanced or created to allow for greater connectivity between employers with jobs and individuals with appropriate skillsets?


  • How can we leverage for-benefit enterprises to specifically reach underserved populations, as it relates to innovation in technology training initiatives, and attract the impact investing community to support such work?


  • What innovative approaches could we take to traditional skills development entities (e.g., K-12 schools, community colleges, vocational schools, four-year universities) to improve our pipeline of talent?


  • How can the fourth sector collaborate alongside the different sectors, to contribute to accelerating the development and rigorous evaluation of technology-based solutions for workforce readiness?

Participants in this track will represent the following perspectives: employers, training providers, impact investors, labor market information providers, government, community foundations, nonprofits, and researchers/innovators. The diverse set of stakeholders will bring a vast array of knowledge and considerable experience, and all attendees are currently active in programming which supports and enhances the growth of a skilled workforce.



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