Background Image for Header: West Virginia scenery
Improving Advanced Education and Training to Prepare Tomorrow’s High-tech Workforce
The pillars to a robust, prepared talent pool are driven by:
- Determining what skills job creators require, today and tomorrow, to employ West
- Recognizing what changes should be made to the educational and vocational systems
to prepare West Virginians for rapidly advancing technology that is changing
workplace demands at lightening-speed.
- Implementing the evidence-based data that reveals how best to create a resilient economy.
August 2017The blueprint calls for education system changes to prepare talent pipeline
November 2017WVPEC 2nd annual Legislators’ Forum informs legislative body of blueprint recommendations
First quarter 2018Evidence-based research and surveys are carried out among policy experts, educators, employers and entrepreneurs on policies, best practices
June 2018Job creators, entrepreneurs, policy experts and community leaders signify the need to better prepare the West Virginia workforce and the future role of education and training
October 2018Focus Forward conference explores how AI, machine learning and advanced technologies alter workforce needs today, impact jobs of tomorrow
December 2018WVPEC 3rd annual Legislator’s Forum aligns WV Forward research and stakeholders’ expertise to highlight policy ideas
EXAMPLES OF WV FORWARD IN ACTION
To focus on tailored solutions, WV Forward partners hosted a first-of-its-kind conference in October 2018 to address how machine learning and artificial intelligence will significantly impact future jobs and required skills. Never before have government officials, legislators, education leaders, economists and industry executives from across West Virginia and beyond come together to discuss how machine learning and advanced technologies will impact how to build the skills, knowledge, resiliency and productivity of West Virginia’s workforce.
Preparing today for tomorrow's workforce
Industry executives reveal significant disruptions in technology have already transformed industry sectors, from automation systems, lasers, computer-generated mechanisms and machine production and shipping. As technologies continue to rapidly evolve, Forward’s blueprint cautions the need to better prepare today for the radically changing workforce demands and the future role of education.
Leaning on the expertise of job creators and employers, WV Forward has joined forces with the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative to help determine best practices to advanced education and training to conform to a high-tech workforce. To ensure the state charts a path to economic prosperity, West Virginia must expand its prepared workforce – retaining talent and cultivating an educational system that fosters the essential skills needed meet the demands of a changing workforce landscape.
Emerging from leadership exchanges with the Hunt Institute, job creators, entrepreneurs, policy experts and community leaders, evidence-based research, surveys and evolving discussions are underway to help implement innovative policies and practices that can drive West Virginia’s economy.
Focus Forward Takaways
Employers and experts concur that success in the future workforce directly ties to lifelong learning and workers’ willingness to continue professional development and training throughout their careers. And though industry needs will continue to evolve, there is a consensus that not all will be as affected by machine learning, such as those that require a strong human connection, creativity, improvisation, complex problem solving in certain environments and leadership skills.
While higher education and West Virginia policies are moving in the right direction, there is also an agreement more needs to be done to meet West Virginians where they are, particularly to engage and retain nontraditional and first-generation students, rural students, veterans and those who live in underrepresented areas across the state.
By heeding to economic statistics and job creators, government and policy experts must work together to advance education and training to produce the in-demand skillsets employers need to hire West Virginians.
Focus Forward lessons learned
- The “hollowing out” of the middle class has widened the pay gap and has established
severe limitations on resilience of the lower and middle classes to adapt to
changes in the workforce;
- The college premium “inoculates” trained and educated workers so that they withstand
periods of high unemployment rates, which is likely to continue as artificial
intelligence and machine learning impact both lower- and middle-class jobs;
- A need exists in economic development to create “clusters” in regions of West Virginia
to attract industries that attract more economic development;
- Pairing industries with educational institutions creates a natural pathway for
students to move into the workplace, as well as to encourage lifelong learning;
- The jobs of tomorrow have job descriptions that do not exist today.
Legislators’ Forum on Education and the Economy
Hosted by the West Virginia Public Education Collaborative, the Legislators’ Forum is an annual event to invite West Virginia legislators to join a future-facing conversation about educational issues, policies, challenges, funding and more.Using West Virginia Forward as a blueprint, the nonpartisan conference convenes policy experts, corporate leaders and educational practitioners to stimulate dialogue, hold pertinent discussions among key stakeholders, examine national best practices and invite partnerships in shaping improvements to West Virginia’s education system.
The Forum is sponsored by West Virginia University, the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and numerous community partners.
Learn more at wvpec.com.
- Remake Learning
Organizations Concerned about Rural Education; Coalition for Community Schools
June Harless Center for Rural Educational Research and Development