How Can Schools Help Ensure the Current Economic Recovery is Sustained and Inclusive


Taking on a new and relevant topic in the education space, DisruptED, hosted by Dr. Caesar Mickens and Ron J Stefanski, is centered on the disruption seen in the confluence of education today and the agents of change. In this premier episode, Co-hosts Dr. Mickens and Stefanski sit down with Karin Norington-Reaves, CEO of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership to talk about their game-changing work in education development.

Norington-Reaves emphasized the fact that there will be jobs in the future that do not exist today, “60% of 8-year olds are going to work in jobs that did not exist at the time.” Finding a way to build skills to perform those jobs starts with education.

Public schools must start emphasizing career engagement and exposure early, Norington-Reaves highlighted. Education must begin early to identify talents, aptitude, and interests in order to build, “competent, knowledgeable, capable” adults to help beat down the racial wealth gap that exists.

The Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has helped bridge the gap in public-private partnership. When talking about workforce development, Norington-Reaves said that flexibility is key, “Removing all of those responsibilities from government and putting them into non-profit which would create nimbleness.” Which then helps to provide, “a central space for policy creation” for people to make informed decisions about the industries they want to pursue.

Norington-Reaves work within education, really in disrupting it in a positive, impactful way, has helped place more than 100k people since inception, “It’s not just about getting people hired, it’s getting them connected to career pathway opportunities that lead to economic self-sufficiency…and really advance in those careers.”

Co-host Stefanski shared in this answer, “Agility is the answer to disruption.” Being adaptive in this space allows flexibility in the long-run.

Norington-Reaves agreed and emphasized that bringing in partners and co-creators helps to create nimbleness and to have shared ownership in the outcomes of the progress, which is how to continue evolving with the times.

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