Reforming America’s fractured education system will require an infusion of innovation. To cultivate a conversation about the critical challenges facing American education, Black Enterprise partnered with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to host Today’s Business Crisis: Educating Tomorrow’s Workforce, a symposium to be held May 15, 2013.
Over the past several months, Black Enterprise and The Gates Foundation have been traveling to select cities across the nation to draw upon the resources of top leaders in business, philanthropy, and education to help find solutions and resources within their communities.
Next week, we’ve selected a group of experts and entrepreneurs in the hi-tech industry who have a dedicated interest in expanding and implementing new technologies in classrooms to assist teachers, inspire students, and sustain parents.
Included among our speakers in Columbus, Ohio is Will Lucas, founder of Toledo, Ohio-based Classana. He will speak on a panel about using technology to develop new learning models to engage and improve the academic performance of K-12 students, as well as prepare them for post-secondary education. Classana is an online education discovery engine that provides users with recommendations to the next steps in their education, career, and interests based on a proprietary matching algorithm and machine learning.
We chose Lucas because of his courage to think outside of the box. While most voices in education reform focus on a diploma as the end-game goal, Lucas recognizes that matriculation isn’t for everyone and some students should focus on obtaining the marketable skills they need to be an asset to their future employers.
Lucas is on to something. More than 40% of recent U.S. college graduates are underemployed or need more training to get on a career track, according to a poll released on Tuesday by the global management consulting firm Accenture. Moreover, the survey of 1,050 workers who finished school in the past two years, and 1,010 who will receive their degree in 2013, also found that many were in jobs that didn’t require a college degree at all. This is all occurring at a time when the cost of a college education is at an all time high.
As such, Classana aims to make the process of obtaining those skills a lot easier when you’re not inside the walls of an institution of higher learning.
Leading up to the symposium next week, Lucas happily agreed to share his thoughts on the problems within our educational system, his own experiences trying to become degreed and why he believes education will become a fully entrepreneurial endeavor in the future.