SXSW EDU will be back live in Austin in March and WorkingNation will be there in full force!

We’re excited to announce that once again WorkingNation will be there to share our insights into the issues impacting today’s workforce development and career pathways, and we’ll be talking to the inspiring leaders who are fostering innovation and learning in our education industry.

Here’s What We’re Talking About

WorkingNation will be hosting four panels. Here’s a look at the issues we’re talking about and the great line-up of moderators and panelists that we’ve pulled together.

Learn-and-Earn: A Proven Workforce Model

Employer-driven programs work. Apprenticeships work. Employers work with community colleges to set a curriculum that will teach skills needed in local businesses through a combination of classroom and on-the-job learning. And, the students are paid for the work they do while gaining valuable skills. Using this model, communities across the country can develop a much-needed, skilled workforce, leading to jobs that employers need to fill.

The panel will be moderated by WorkingNation president Jane Oates. She’ll be joined by Jamie Merisotis, president & CEO of Lumina Foundation. We’ll share the names of the additional panelists very soon.

Building Innovation Hubs Outside of Silicon Valley

The great 2020 migration from larger metro areas to more-affordable and less-populated cities and towns has created an opportunity for many of these mid-size and smaller communities to become tech innovation and entrepreneurial hubs of the future. Local businesses, civic leaders, foundations, and educators are teaming up to foster new tech-centric economies that will unleash new employment opportunities for all and encourage small business creation.

This panel will be moderated by award-winning journalist Hari Sreenivasan, senior correspondent and weekend anchor for PBS Newshour. Our panel includes Miami mayor Francis Suarez; Nicholas Lalla, co-founder and managing director for Tulsa Innovation Labs; and Patrick McKenna, founder of One America Works.

Closing the Latino Digital Skills Gap

Latino workers are 14% of overall workers, but represent 35% of workers with no digital skills and 20% of those with limited digital skills. Digital skills are crucial to obtaining gainful employment and resources to support their families.

We talk to leaders from various organizations providing training and education to close this skills gap and help the community thrive, including Frankie Miranda, president & CEO of Hispanic Federation and Hector Mujica, economic opportunity lead for the Americas at Google.org. Our panel will be moderated by award-winning journalist Giselle Fernandez, currently host of LA Stories for Spectrum News 1.

Don’t Leave Older Workers Out of the Jobs Recovery 

The majority of the long-term unemployed are over the age of 45. A majority of hiring managers admit hesitating when it comes to hiring an older worker, fearing they are not tech-adaptable or might not fit into the work culture. Conversely, they say the older workers already on the job are valued employees. So, where does that leave mid-career workers trying to find a new job in the post-pandemic workforce? Let’s address this age bias directly and examine what’s being done to correct it.

I am very pleased to be hosting this panel of insightful and passionate leaders in an examination of this important issue. Joining me on stage will be Paul Irving, chairman of the Milken Institute Center for the Future of Aging; Mona Mourshed, founding global CEO of Generation; and Marci Alboher, vice president of Encore.org.

WorkingNation Overheard

Our team will also be in Austin to bring you WorkingNation Overheard, our insider access to what America’s thought leaders are saying about the future of education, the future of work, and the future of workers. Over the past three years, we’ve interviewed CEOs, top educators, state and local leaders, and heads of nonprofits at major conferences around the country. We can’t wait to share what we overhear at SXSW EDU in March! Hope to see you there!