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Let’s start with a couple of lines, running through space. This space can have meaning, and these lines then then become trajectories…imagine age increasing across the horizontal axis as you read, and proficiency developing up the Y axis.
These lines are now individual paths. In general, we see proficiency increasing with age…let’s introduce a target.
That target is workforce readiness, say for manufacturing, and this whole map tracks workforce development. Not too complicated: employers want to hire employees who can do certain things; people want to develop their abilities over time so as to be ready for employment. It gets a bit more complicated, ever for two people…proficiency in what? We could generate a map like this for every person and every skillset…imagine being surrounded by these screens, one per skill set…
Here our learner begins in the middle and grows outward in time, increasing skills in each (necessarily still oversimplified) area needed for productive lives.
Here’s a quick look at increasingly specified proficiencies which manufacturers are looking to see in employees.
But we can average over those proficiencies, for now, and return to a single representation. Lets introduce a few more learners…
Now we can think of these developmental trajectories as bundled together in something like a pipeline; using a less fluid metaphor, individual paths can be clustered into something like pathways, about which we’ll hear from Brian Wiebe in a few moments. Now, these proficiencies get developed in specific times and places; let’s introduce a program: call it 6th grade.
And 6th grade leads to 7th, and so on up the pipeline
Of course, there are more than one of each of these programs.
There are more than one high school; and beyond that, lots of schools, and beyond that, informal learning, and adult first-time learning, and adult retraining programs,…
In fact, today’s attendance at the Forum gives some picture of this diversity of programs; here are the more than two dozen institutions represented at today’s Forum.
But let’s simplify again and focus on just one level, say, grade 9.
There are many ways to do grade nine. And they are not all the same.
Some of them offer ways to move forward to learners with a broader range of abilities; others presume more to start and may push that group higher, faster than others.
Of course, we could map institutions that stretch across multiple grade levels, rather than just grades. Here’s one in green…and already we can notice a complication: the grade 8 shown here does not have a curriculum that extends to the minimum requirements of the 9th grade (in green) above it. Anyone sitting on an admissions committee for that school in green might be in conversation with that 8th grade below it to see if they might enhance their curriculum--or this could all be done inside a single district--etc.
But let us return again to a more simplified picture, leaving out the structures of formal education, and ask ourselves: who else is involved in this process of developing contributing adults for tomorrow’s manufacturing sector?
Here’s a partial list I borrowed from Ann and Bill Voll’s travels: this is who they have been talking with over the past year or two: there are 34 partners listed here, many (like school districts and manufacturing groups) representing many more...a hundred partners or more.
Again, pulling from a brainstorming document developed as part of a funding proposal, here is one way those partners might be organized, around the meeting of one set of needs in that partnership: the need for hands-on training beyond the levels currently done in-house by these other organizations. That’s a lot of partners, who could be working on a single (albeit important) aspect of this pipeline.
Now suppose that another set of partners, many overlapping, are at work on a complementary strategy for connecting STEM education and workforce development, also with a hands-on training component. Perhaps there is a third, and a fourth such strategy, some involving three counties, some four, some five. Which strategy are partners to join?
This, Tom, would be the beginning of solving the “age old” problem of the “purpose for education”; is it education for knowledge or workforce development. If we could have this discussion, we could have a far more informed discussion on funding.
Wfd pipeline and collective impact (1)
of the National Tool
- 34 Companies)
Manufacturers Social Services
Vendors Higher Education Workforce Development
...but imagine a shared vision...
• Informed and coordinated manufacturers define skillsets and
projected workforce size
• Higher ed and apprenticeship programs coordinate to impart
those skills at needed scale in ways transparent to students
• Each supporting level of training offers measurably sufficient
prerequisite training, with numbers tuned to anticipated
• common metrics applied and visible across programs to spot
• remediation and overflow training strategies available online
• transparency and welcoming invitations offered by teachers
who are fully part of the manufacturing community
a common agenda ...
• built on genuine strategic alignment
• where the long-term goals of each partner
• putting in common as much as partners
actually have in common
• a foundation for trust
… a shared measurement system
• both short-term, performance indicators
showing that effort is being applied in
• and longer-term impact goals so partners can
tell when the collaboration is succeeding
...mutually reinforcing activities
• where each partner shares its gifts freely with
• with freedom and encouragement to form
small collaborations in pursuit of goals that
include the larger common agenda
...in continuous communication
• providing shared advantage that comes with
awareness of new developments
• encouraging timely collaboration
• onboarding new partners
• celebrating success real-time
...backbone organizational support
• keeping eyes on the prize
• holding up a common vision for partners
• coordinating common activities,
measurement and communication of results
• onboarding new partners
• acting as institutional memory for the
• serving as point of contact
• Common agenda
• Shared metrics
• Mutually reinforcing activities
• Continuous communication
• Backbone organization support