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Where Talent Meets Career Opportunity

Job seekers with the right skill set can find a wealth of opportunities in the grey-collar sector. Demand for skilled trade workers in specialized career fields including healthcare, forestry, paralegal services, and manufacturing (among others) are expected to grow by nearly 50 percent, while the supply of qualified employees for these industries is expected to decrease about 12 percent, according to Manpower Group's Talent Shortage Survey.1 Employers continually struggle to find qualified applicants due to a lack of training.
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One of the biggest barriers that is preventing the Education sector from wholesale technological transformation is regulation.  Unlike other industries that have been disrupted due to advances in technology, Education's "Internet Moment" is continually delayed due to 150 years of complex local, State, and Federal regulations.  While many of the regulations seem impervious to market forces and disruption, there are more and more signs that people are beginning to question the existing "status quo".
Income inequality and poverty-stricken households significantly influence the demise of a local community. And a low-income community driven by under-educated individuals actually perpetuates this fiscal depression. For example, a primary reason that the U.S. economy is growing but the traditional "all boats will rise" prosperity phenomena has not happened is a direct result of the millions of people outside the economic mainstream who lack the skills and opportunity to exploit this middle-skills gap moment. Regrettably, the consequences of poverty are impeding community growth, from poor health and hunger to lost productivity and steep economic deficits.
At a typical career college, about 40 percent of students drop out before completing their training, according to Complete College America.1  While this is clearly a problem for the students, it also costs the colleges a lot of money. Estimates provided by a group of six retention experts polled by Career College Central report that lost revenue due to attrition can be as much as $3,000 per student, if the student drops in the first quarter. To break it down further, the report drew a portrait of the average per-dropout costs of attrition; assuming a career college's average monthly tuition is $1,200, the average time to graduate is 14 months, and most dropouts occur during the first half of the term, schools lose at least seven months of revenue, equating $8,400, per dropout.1
Through education, at-risk youth can be transformed into high school graduates armed with academic and professional capabilities and better social and civic skills. Education is the catalyst for bottom-up change and can become the epicenter in successful communities. The high school diploma serves as the most important impetus for driving personal and communal change. Educate our youth, and our communities will flourish. In fact, it can be argued that the successful graduation of even a single student de-risks a family unit and can amplify their impact by encouraging others to become contributing members of society. The power of example demonstrated by just a one individual graduating high school can begin to galvanize a single building or street. At scale, it can help build workforces with higher productivity, leading to lower poverty and reduced crime rates.
As you may know, South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film and music festivals and interactive conferences that take place every spring in Austin, Texas. It began in 1987, and has continued to grow in size every year, and last year exceeded 12,000 people.  Recently they added a track on education and have created a one-of-a-kind event where innovative leaders come together to change how we teach and learn, and to discuss the future of American education and career training. 

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