Byron's Babbles

SMART Global Reflections

I love traveling internationally and connecting with people from all over the world. As I fly the last leg of my trip home this evening I am reflecting on how blessed I was to be in Hamburg, Germany 🇩🇪 for the SMART Factory League 2022 Summit. Industry and manufacturing leaders from around the world came together to discuss current issues and promising practices. It was so great to be with Anna Beklemisheva, from Greece 🇬🇷, who is the GIA event manager. The last time I saw Anna in person was in Berlin back in 2018, pre global pandemic. I love working with Anna and will always make myself available to chair and speak at events for her. Every time I am with Anna I learn so much.

It was great to see individuals in person that I had connected with back in 2018. One big difference that we all noted in the discussions from 2018 to 2022 were how people centric the discussions have become. It seems to be a global issue with no industry exempt from having a talent shortage. They were kidding me that in 2018 I kept wanting to talk education and talent with only limited interest. Now in 2022, every speaker and every panel discussion ended up discussing the workforce. And, I loved it when they all agreed that we must be thinking about talent development down into the younger ages/grades of education. This is a passion of mine. We need to be thinking exposure, exploration, and experience much earlier.

It is so critical to have these global interactions and learn from each other. One leader from Poland 🇵🇱 discussed that we are setting ourselves up for failure if we believe that schools and teachers can keep up with changes in technology and other industrial advances to be able to teach effectively. He believes industry needs to step up and provide teachers. I have been advocating for years now that we need to be thinking about do we best put people who have actually done the things they are teaching in front of our scholars. We already do this in many of our career and technical education programs and I believe this is a way to increase our teaching in a relevant context and putting great teachers in front of students every minute of the day. Keep in mind that if we are creative about this a person might only teach one hour a day and be in their industry career the other part of the day. Or it could be someone who has retired from business or industry. This would take some logistical work and partnering between industries and schools, but I believe it could be done.

I am coming home excited that the world is thinking about how we become more people centric. We need to do a better job of talent mapping and development for our young scholars as well as our current employees.

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Being Who We Want To Be

Posted in Education, Education Reform, Educational Leadership, Gig Economy, Global Education, Leadership, Pandemic by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 26, 2020

I just had another Lizzie West quote impact me. In this one, West said, “Freedom, to me, is imagination, the power of imagination to create what we want and be who we want to be.” This made me think about all our students, both high school and post secondary, coming out into the Gig Economy. We often talk about how our students will need to create their own job titles, create their own jobs, or adjust to jobs yet not out there, but this is more true today than ever. We must provide the environment for our students to imagine and then create who and what they want to be.

“Freedom, to me, is imagination, the power of imagination to create what we want and be who we want to be.” ~ Lizzie West

Our high school and college graduates of today are entering the workforce of the Gig Economy. The Gig Economy is made up of consultants, independent contractors, freelancers, side-giggers, and on-demand workers. Gig Economy workers make up approximately 30-40% (depending on what source you use) of the U.S. workforce right now. Alternative and flexible work arrangements have been increasing, but with the COVID-19 Pandemic these may become the norm.

Therefore, I get concerned that most high school and college graduates still receive a transcript instead of a portfolio. This plays to my belief we need to worry more about transferable skills and less about courses. Our students will need to be able to identify the skills they have acquired and then be able to market them. Developing portfolios begins to do this and gives them a usable product from their education.

Additionally, we need to be teaching the skills required of the Gig Economy. According to Fast Company there are four essential skills needed in the Gig Economy:

  1. Critical thinking and logic
  2. Human Resources
  3. Finance
  4. Marketing and communication

Gig Economy professionals must also be able to:

  • Match personal skills to problems that need solved.
  • Direct themselves.
  • Ask good questions before devising a solution.
  • Learn, learn, and learn some more.

Our students will need to develop a strong sense of self. They will also, now more than ever, need to be able to answer their own “why” of their learning. Understanding this “why” will help them imagine what and who she/he wants to be.