Parting Thoughts on Workforce Development

Yesterday I had the privilege of running the closing workshop of the #NAWB Forum 2016.  The Forum’s theme this year was Technology, Community, Transformation, and given WIOA’s reorganization of the workforce development space, the presentations and conversations were decidedly future-oriented.

In the final workshop we introduced “futures thinking” to the participants and offered some simple tools to assist them in making sense of all of the forecasts, predictions, and debates they heard over the course of the conference.  One of the things we stressed was the notion of uncertainty, particularly in the context of the operational work the workforce development boards are doing and in the context of the broader environment as it continues to change.

As a parting thought/reminder to the #NAWBForum attendees: in the midst of addressing the operational uncertainties you’re facing (impending regulations, building local workforce development ecosystems, etc…), don’t forget to also develop and nurture a serious and ongoing conversation about the future nature of the economic life and “career.”  Despite confident predictions on all sides about what “the future of work” is or what the role of human labor will be, what economic life will be like in 15-20 years is a genuine, messy uncertainty.

“What’s Next for the Future: Making Sense of the Signals and Making Decisions.” (edited)

(note: the linked presentation makes a whole lot more sense with the tailored futures thinking/strategic planning workbook that participants in the workshop were using).


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