21st Century Job Skills Project
Executive Director - John D. Gardner, Lieutenant General, US Army (retired).
Jean-Paul Duvivier, Former Director, Commerzbank AG, and Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Dept of the Treasury.
Bruce Mamont – Former Senior Manager, Boeing Software Development Team.
Thomas Meyer - Director, Veterans Services, The Philanthropy Roundtable.
Jim Mahoney – Professional educator, leader, and speaker. Previous positions include Founder and Executive Director, Battelle for Kids; Superintendent, Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center; Principal, Maysville Local Schools; Teacher, Lawrence Elementary School.
Mary Jo Meisner – Senior Boston community leader, journalist, and former publishing company executive. Previous positions include VP, Communications, Community Relations and Public Affairs, The Boston Foundation; Editor and Vice Chairman, Community Newspaper Co, Needham, MA; City Editor, The Washington Post.
Dr. David Steel – Expert in global public relations, corporate strategy, and business development. Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs for Samsung Electronics.
Goal: Provide every student realistic access to a 21st Century true living wage job in an enduring career field.
Challenge: Every American should have the opportunity to afford a good place to live, have access to reliable transportation, and have the means to raise a family if desired. Meeting this expectation is arguably the most difficult national challenge of the next half century.
This is driven by several factors – a rapidly increasing pace of technological change, a loss of manufacturing jobs over time, a growing disparity between knowledge-based/high-tech communities and post-industrial communities, and the reality that only middle and high skilled jobs will pay true 21st Century living wages. Lower skills jobs will be relegated to minimum wage.
In this period of rapid technological and economic change we need to look at new ways to facilitate student success beyond preparing them for college and careers. We believe it is time to leverage existing initiatives and programs and structure a community effort that establishes a linkage between the school system, the institutions that develop relevant skills, and the business community, all with the intent to provide every student realistic access to a true 21st Century living wage job.
Method: Establish a partnership at the community level that brings together all the critical stakeholders and defines paths to enduring jobs in that geographic area. Include apprenticeship programs, professional credentialing programs, and attendance at traditional community colleges and universities. The paths would lead to definable careers such as engineer, teacher, plumber, lawyer, electrician, computer programmer, network manager, and auto mechanic,
The paths identified by the partnership would first be introduced to students in elementary school and then more formally presented in high school. Other key components of this effort could include identifying funding for select students, soliciting volunteer mentors and counselors, and augmenting public transportation to meet the expanded requirements. The partnership would formally assess progress every 6 months and resolve obstacles to achieving success.
This process will help ensure that public school students have realistic access to a true living wage job, businesses have access to skilled labor, and the community stays ahead of technological change in terms of what skills are increasingly in demand.
Organization: The 21st Century Job Skills Project is a private, non-partisan and non-profit initiative. The Project, on a pro bono basis, serves as a neutral coordinator to help build and manage this effort at the city/community level.