Message From the Chair Emeritus—Richard Johanson
Recently I had the opportunity to study a white paper explaining where our region and country could be within the next couple of years if we came together and to maximize the human resources available to us. High among the stated priorities is the need to put aside dogmatic political posturing and agreeing upon common solutions to major problems. One way the paper proposes to do this is through the creation of private sector “Solutions Councils” to work with all levels of civic administration. Clearly, some regions have already taken bold and enduring steps in this direction. The Fresno Business Council, founded in 1993, was launched with this approach in mind. The California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley is another example. Our partners in the network of regional stewards across California offer additional models. Each sector and discipline has strengths and weaknesses. By aligning our assets (the Asset-Based Approach) and maintaining a Commitment to Outcomes and the Resolution of Conflicts, our future is rich with promise. The choice is ours.
A Job, A Better Job, A Career—Personal and Workforce Development
In many meetings, Assemblymember Juan Arambula has talked about an individual’s path to prosperity—a job, a better job and a career. While some are satisfied with the first step, others are motivated to rise to the highest level of development they can achieve. As a community, our prosperity is tied to the same trajectory. How do we create environments where individuals discover their unique talents and have the tools and opportunities they need to develop to their highest potential?
Recently, many of us involved in the Regional Jobs Initiative had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the Ford Motor Company Fund. They have launched a partnership with educators, employers and community leaders “to develop a generation of young people who will graduate from high school both college and career ready—an emerging workforce prepared to compete successfully in the 21st century economy.” While clearly, high level technical skills are needed, their approach blends many disciplines in order to prepare students to think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, work well on teams, innovate and look through a global lens. Woven together, this package of abilities will yield a productive and innovative workforce and engaged citizens and effective parents. For more info: www.fordpas.org or www.fordnglc.com. This is the shift from industrial view of education to a customized and sustaining one.
The work focuses on three learning initiatives:
1. Transform Teaching and Learning (project based and applied learning)
2. Redesign High Schools (collaborate across sectors and disciplines)
3. Sustain Change Through Business and Civic Leadership (Political will requires a shared agenda and strategies)