Overheard

ASU+GSV Summit 2021: Maria Flynn on reimagining workforce and higher ed

Leaders in education and tech leaders share innovative ideas about what's ahead
By Laura Aka
August 10, 2021

“We need to be investing in and innovating in the current systems that we have, but I truly don’t think that that’s enough,” says Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF, referencing the country’s current look at infrastructure.

Flynn adds, “At the same time, we really need to be stepping back and starting a very thoughtful process about if we were to build the workforce and higher ed system of the future of the U.S., where would we start? I don’t think that is tinkering around the edges of the system that we currently have. I think it is a fundamental reimagining process.”

Explaining JFF’s role in the space, Flynn says, “We really work to drive economic advancement for all. And we do that by working to transform the nation’s education and workforce systems. And as a national intermediary, we work with policymakers, practitioners, funders, technologists, investors around the country to make that happen because we really believe that you need all levers to be pulled in order to drive the types of impact that we all want to see.”

She notes that collaborations that allow stakeholders to work together will help create change. “One thing that we are really doubling down on is to really help build a bridge between the traditional education and workforce systems, and the innovators, and the new solutions.”

“I think, too often, those worlds kind of operate in silos from one another. We are really leveraging our networks and our programmatic expertise in order to bring kind of the best of both worlds together in order to drive solutions.”

Click here to learn more about JFF.

WorkingNation—a collaborating partner of the ASU+GSV Summit—sat down with Flynn in San Diego as part of our #WorkingNationOverheard social media series.

Hear from more innovators in education and tech in the public, private, and nonprofit spheres attending the ASU+GSV Summit 2021 here.

Follow the conversation on social media: #asugsvsummit #workingnationoverheard