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Ronald J Stefanski

Managing Director, Corporate Education Practice

As the managing director for the corporate education practice at Penn Foster, Ron focuses on corporations, workforce and skills training. Ron has served in a variety of strategic sales, marketing and business development executive roles in his prior roles at Cengage Learning. Ron is a native Detroiter, and first generation college graduate. He is passionate about working with partners to increase access and opportunities to education. His work with Fortune 500 corporations has created impact with frontline workers through innovative learning programs. Ron’s work in creating public and private partnerships in Detroit was recently recognized at CGI America in 2016, and at the White House during the Upskills Initiative in 2015.

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The gig economy, the free market system in which temporary positions are common, has grown exponentially in the past decade, from 10.1% in 2005 to 15.8% in 2015.1 The growth of this industry falls to the development of new technologies that enable transactions directly between providers and consumers and the increasing disinterest in acquiring traditional 9-5 jobs.1 More than ever before, people are filling temporary roles including working as handymen, cultivating content as freelance writers, and performing administrative work.Despite the temporary nature of these roles, they often require new skill sets to be learned. Free educational services and skills development programs provided through libraries have become critical to job placement and advancement for many gig positions and demand continues to increase.
"There is an old African proverb: If you don't embrace the young in your village, they will return later to burn it down for its warmth."
Parties often take on an energy and life all their own. Hosting a Jazz it Up in the D Celebration to honor Brenda Jones' (left) re-election as president of Detroit City Council had that distinct energy that comes from a capacity crowd watching performers up close when they put their unique talents together in creative ways. The Stephen Grady Junior Jazz Trio was on hand at our home as we welcomed over 125 captivating artists, community and business leaders and friends to celebrate the next chapter for Detroit. Stephen Jr. and friends Jake and Rocco thrilled the audience with their riffs on sax, bass and guitar. Clearly, they have skills!
My father was a career merchant at Montgomery Ward's department store in its heyday. Whenever he talked about his job, he always said, "retail is detail." A walk through any retail store in December validated his point: Getting the merchandise mix right in the stores, figuring out how to keep this year's hot items in stock, the logistics and crush of operational details all handled in the crunch of the holiday push, where companies' entire profits are decided in the span of eight weeks-all these incredible details push retail veterans to their limits, especially in an industry disrupted by technology, growing online players, and changing trends. All the more reason to capture some of the more important details at this year's NRF Foundation Gala.

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