A Kettering University and Brookings Institution workshop on May 10 discussed new models for skills development in industry and featured some of the top leaders and thinkers from around the country.
The workshop, entitled ‘Hacking the Skills System: Reinventing the Advanced Industries Talent Supply Chain for Growth,’ focused on the “digitization” of industry and the rise of innovative, competency-oriented approaches to education and skills training.
“Preparing individuals for careers in U.S. advanced industries requires new and radically different approaches to education and skills training,” said Mark Muro, Senior Fellow and Policy Director, Brookings Institution, Metropolitan Policy Program. “A variety of innovative education models exist that can help students and workers acquire the relevant skills and experience they need before starting their careers—or amid stream. This workshop was to help stakeholders better understand and explore those models.”
A key theme of the workshop will be the fast pace with which digital technology is remaking the country’s advanced industries, including automotive, aerospace and medical device manufacturing. With software and IT transforming these industries, companies are looking for new and differently trained workers conversant with new technologies and able to work in new ways. Regional higher-education and workforce organizations are therefore challenged to respond with new approaches to producing the STEM- and tech-knowledgeable workforces needed to maintain American competitiveness.
“We are honored to host the Brookings Institution on our campus and in Flint,” said Dr. Robert K. McMahan, Kettering University President. “As the global workforce continues to experience seismic shifts as a result of rapid technological change, we believe Kettering -- with our unique and innovative experiential approach to education that combines academic rigor with applied, meaningful professional experiences -- was the perfect setting for this critical dialogue.”
Flint, Michigan, is home to two institutions – Kettering University among 4-year universities and Mott Community College among 2-year programs – that fared well nationally in the Brookings Institution’s Beyond College Rankings. Both institutions have exceptional track records at delivering workforce-ready talent to the global economy.
“Flint is in fact a center of figuring these issues out, given Kettering’s leadership on industry relevant engineering education and Mott Community College’s knack for practical job training,” Muro said.
Featured participants were national and regional leaders in business, government and philanthropic organizations. The forum exposed participants to several innovative approaches to education and skills training, connected private- and public-sector stakeholders interested in strengthening the talent supply chain in advanced industries and shared upcoming Brookings’ research and priority actions at the national, regional and state levels.
Along with discussions and presentations, participants will also have the opportunity to tour Kettering University’s lab spaces and meet with current students. The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC, whose mission is to conduct in-depth research that leads to new ideas for solving problems facing a society at the local, national and global level.