Minding the skills gap: The future of education in the future of work - AEI


Event Location: Arizona State University
11:15 – 3:30 PM MT

Event Materials

Event Transcript

Event Summary 

On Wednesday, AEI convened some of the nation’s foremost education and labor experts at Arizona State University (ASU) to discuss skills training and creating a more flexible, innovative labor force.

The first panel assembled ASU academics and administrators to discuss the need for adaptable workforce training. ASU’s Sethuraman Panchanathan predicted that while the current generation may go through four to five jobs in a lifetime, the next generation will go through four to five careers. Consequently, the panelists recommended broadly accessible, flexible education.

The keynote conversation featured Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and ASU President Michael Crow. Dr. Crow urged the rejection of rigid life stages dictated by education and age in favor of a culture of lifelong learning. They both also noted that skills-based training can be especially valuable to at-risk demographics, highlighting Arizona’s prison-based skills training program.

The final two panels discussed how to ensure that students have the skills employers desire. Sybil Francis from the Center for the Future of Arizona emphasized the need to see skills training not as an end of itself, but as a pipeline toward success. The event concluded with panelists noting that nontraditional pathways can provide students with the skills they need.

–R.J. Martin

Event Description

Globalization, automation, and other emerging technologies are poised to reshape the workplace, the workforce, and work itself. The skills needed today and in the future are dramatically different from those demanded in the past. These changes merit a broader and more responsive education system with stronger alignment to employer needs and more flexibility for individuals seeking new skills as they move from one job to another.

In light of these trends, AEI and Arizona State University are collaborating to convene some of the foremost thinkers in education and labor from Arizona and the nation at large. Please join us at Arizona State University for a dynamic and thought-provoking discussion on American education and workforce development, featuring a keynote conversation with Gov. Doug Ducey and Arizona State University President Michael Crow and three panels of experts, practitioners, and policymakers.

Join the conversation on social media with #MindingtheSkillsGap.

We welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.


11:15 AM MT | 1:15 PM ET
Opening remarks:
John P. Bailey, AEI
Luke Tate, Arizona State University

11:30 AM MT | 1:30 PM ET
Panel I

Sethuraman Panchanathan, Arizona State University (TBD)
Phil Regier, Arizona State University (TBD)
Luke Tate, Arizona State University
Julie Young, Arizona State University

John P. Bailey, AEI

12:30 PM MT | 2:30 PM ET
Keynote conversation:
Michael Crow, Arizona State University
Doug Ducey, Governor of Arizona

Ryan Streeter, AEI

1:30 PM MT | 3:30 PM ET
Panel II

Sybil Francis, Center for the Future of Arizona
Megan Garcia, New America
Karla Fisher, Maricopa Community Colleges
Al Rosabal, Galvanize
Dawn Wallace, Arizona Governor’s Office

Andy Smarick, AEI

2:30 PM MT | 4:30 PM ET
Panel III

Tamar Jacoby, Opportunity America
Aanand Radia, University Ventures
Mark Schneider, AEI &AIR
Philip Serghini, Walmart
Jason Tyszko, US Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Jeff Selingo, Arizona State University

3:30 PM MT | 5:30 PM ET

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Rooney Columbus at [email protected], 202.862.5902.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829

John P. Bailey is a visiting fellow at AEI, where he works on finding new ways to reskill individuals who have lost their jobs during times of economic disruption, whether because of normal business cycles, automation, or artificial intelligence. His research on related issues includes rethinking the way people are taught new skills. In addition to AEI, he is concurrently a fellow at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Walton Family Foundation. Mr. Bailey previously served as special assistant to the president for domestic policy at the White House from 2007 to January 2009, where he worked on education and labor policy issues primarily. He has also worked in the Departments of Commerce and Education. As the vice president of policy for the Foundation for Excellence in Education, he worked on economic mobility issues and immigration. He is the cofounder of Whiteboard Advisors, has advised many foundations, and has worked on labor, housing, education, and technology issues for political campaigns. He sits on the boards of the George W. Bush Presidential Center and Data Quality Campaign. Mr. Bailey is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He received his B.A. in international studies from Dickinson College.


Michael Crow is the 16th president of Arizona State University (ASU). Under his leadership, ASU has established more than a dozen new transdisciplinary schools and large-scale research initiatives such as the Biodesign Institute. The university also has more than quadrupled research expenditures, completed an unprecedented infrastructure expansion, and was named the nation’s most innovative school by US News & World Report in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Dr. Crow was previously executive vice provost of Columbia University, where he was also professor of science and technology policy in the School of International and Public Affairs. As chief strategist of Columbia’s research enterprise, he led technology and innovation transfer operations, established Columbia Innovation Enterprises (renamed Science and Technology Ventures), and advanced interdisciplinary program development. He played the lead role in creating and served as the founding director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and in 1998 he founded the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO), dedicated to linking science and technology to optimal social, economic, and environmental outcomes. In 2003, CSPO was reconstituted at ASU and is now based in Phoenix and Washington, DC. He is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Academy of Public Administration and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and US Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He is the author of books and articles analyzing science and technology policy and the design of knowledge enterprises and higher education institutions and systems. Dr. Crow received his Ph.D. in public administration (science and technology policy) from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University.


Doug Ducey is the 23rd governor of the state of Arizona. He was sworn into office on January 5, 2015. He remains committed to growing the economy, creating and supporting 21st-century jobs, promoting educational excellence, protecting our communities, and restoring fiscal responsibility — all without raising taxes. Gov. Ducey began his career in sales and marketing with Procter & Gamble and went on to serve as partner and CEO of Cold Stone Creamery. Before becoming governor, he served as Arizona’s 32nd state treasurer, chairman of the Arizona State Board of Investment and State Loan Commission, Arizona surveyor general, and a member of the State Land Selection Board. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in finance.


Karla Fisher is the provost of the Maricopa County Community College District, where she oversees curriculum; academic research and assessment; student affairs; strategic planning and institutional effectiveness; university relations, transfer, and articulation; grants development and management; international education; faculty professional growth and development; marketing; high school to college pathways and outreach programs; workforce development; and small business development. Dr. Fisher began her higher education career in 2001 as an administrator at Salt Lake Community College. After working at the Center for Community College Student Engagement while completing her Ph.D. at the University of Texas, she went on to serve as vice president of academics at Butler Community College from 2010 to 2016, serving as interim president from January to July 2013. Previously, she was chancellor of Arkansas State University–Beebe. Dr. Fisher has taught in campus, online, and blended learning environments since 1996. She also has been actively involved in the community college quality movement at the state and national levels through active roles with Arkansas Community Colleges, the Kansas Council of Instructional Administrators, Kansas Board of Regents Councils, the American Association of Community Colleges Commissions and 21st-Century Initiative, the National Community College Benchmark Project, and the Higher Learning Commission. In 2015, she was named the National Council of Instructional Administrators Chief Academic Officer of the Year. This year, she was selected as a 2017–18 Aspen Presidential Fellow.

Sybil Francis serves as the executive director of the Center for the Future of Arizona, where she was part of the founding team and is engaged in all aspects of the center’s work. Her focus is bringing innovative solutions to Arizona’s education landscape. Before moving to Arizona in 2002, her public policy work focused on advancing the national science and technology enterprise. She began her career working in the US House of Representatives and later served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She was part of the leadership team of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a small private college in New York. Dr. Francis earned her B.A. in chemistry at Oberlin College and her Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Megan Garcia is senior fellow and director of growth for New America’s National Network, exploring how the work of New America’s programs links to exciting local approaches to problem-solving in cities around the country. She was director of New America CA and founder of the New America CA Fellowship. She is an expert on artificial intelligence and ethics, cybersecurity, and innovation. Previously, Ms. Garcia was a program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, where she oversaw the creation of the foundation’s Cyber Initiative and directed its Nuclear Security Initiative. She has worked for two members of Congress, the US Agency for International Development’s Office of Military Affairs, and Public Citizen California. She holds a master’s in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and an undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard University.


Tamar Jacoby is president of Opportunity America, a Washington-based nonprofit working to promote economic mobility. A former journalist and author, she was a senior writer and justice editor at Newsweek and, before that, the deputy editor of The New York Times op-ed page. Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, and Foreign Affairs, among other publications. She is the author of “Someone Else’s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration” (Basic Books, 2000) and editor of “Reinventing the Melting Pot: The New Immigrants and What It Means To Be American” (Basic Books, 2004). Since 2008, she has been president of ImmigrationWorks USA.


Sethuraman Panchanathan leads the knowledge enterprise development at Arizona State University (ASU), which advances research, innovation, strategic partnerships, entrepreneurship, and global and economic development at ASU. He was the founding director of the School of Computing and Informatics and was instrumental in founding the Biomedical Informatics Department at ASU. He also served as the chair of the Computer Science and Engineering Department. He founded the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC) at ASU. CUbiC’s flagship project iCARE, for individuals who are blind and visually impaired, won the Governor’s Innovator of the Year-Academia Award in November 2004. In 2014, Dr. Panchanathan was appointed by President Barack Obama to the US National Science Board, and he is chair of the Committee on Strategy. He was appointed by former US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Dr. Panchanathan is a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the Society of Optical Engineering. He serves as the chair of the Council on Research within the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Dr. Panchanathan was the editor-in-chief of the IEEE Multimedia Magazine and is also an editor or associate editor of many other journals and transactions. He has published more than 440 papers in refereed journals and conferences and has mentored more than 100 graduate students, post-docs, research engineers, and research scientists who occupy leading positions in academia and industry. He has been a chair, program committee member, and organizer of numerous conferences.


Aanand Radia is a managing director at University Ventures. Before University Ventures, he was a private equity investor at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, where he focused on financial services and special situations. Before BlackRock, Mr. Radia worked at EdisonLearning (formerly Edison Schools), an early pioneer in the charter school movement and later a diversified K–12 education technology and services company, where he focused on corporate strategy, business development, and new product and finance initiatives. While at Edison, he helped develop an alternative education product offering delivered through a hybrid/blended learning environment. Mr. Radia started his career at Patriot Capital, a middle market private equity firm, where he made investments across a broad range of industries. He received his B.S. in economics from Carnegie Mellon University.


Phil Regier is university dean for educational initiatives and CEO of EdPlus at Arizona State University (ASU). He is responsible for expanding the university’s digital immersion program and advancing the university’s leadership role in education innovation. During his tenure as dean, the fully online student population grew from 400 to more than 28,000, and the number of online degree programs grew from six to 150 as of fall 2017. Today, online programs at ASU use more than 200 technologies, and the university is a co-convener of the ASU+GSV Education Innovation Summit, the largest and most recognized assembly of education technology entrepreneurs, investors, and users in the world. A philosophy major and math minor, Dr. Regier earned his undergraduate degree from St. John’s College. He also holds a Ph.D. in accountancy from the University of Illinois at Champaign–Urbana.


Al Rosabal has been CEO at Galvanize Inc. since January 3, 2018. He was chief technology officer and executive vice president and then chief operating officer of National CineMedia LLC (NCM), where he led go-to-market strategies, technology, engineering, operations, media operations, affiliate management, and digital products. Before NCM, Mr. Rosabal served in senior roles in the public sector and Fortune 500 companies, including as the chief technology officer for the City of Denver, where he led initiatives in information technology (IT) governance, enterprise architecture, infrastructure optimization, and organizational realignment. Previously, he served as chief information officer for Douglas County, Colorado. Mr. Rosabal’s past experience also includes executive IT positions with Nextel Communications; Percepta/Teletech, a London-based joint venture with Ford Motor Company; and IBM Global Services, where he managed programs in the health care, energy, and telecomm industries. He began his career developing software in the Air Force. He has a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the United States Air Force Academy and an M.B.A. in finance from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. He has successfully completed executive programs at the Yale CEO College, the Center for Creative Leadership, and the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland.


Mark Schneider is a visiting scholar at AEI, a vice president and institute fellow at the American Institutes for Research (AIR), and president of College Measures. Before joining AIR, he served as commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics from 2005 to 2008. He is the author of numerous articles and books on education policy. Dr. Schneider has been working on increasing accountability by making data on college productivity and the labor market success of college graduates more publicly available. To that end, he created College Measures. His most recent efforts to help students understand the value of college degrees and find jobs that lead to middle-class wages can be found via Launch My Career websites in the states of Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. His work is frequently covered by the media, and he has written opinion pieces for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Education, and many other state and local media outlets.


Jeff Selingo is a special adviser and professor of practice at Arizona State University and a visiting scholar at the Center for 21st Century Universities at Georgia Tech. He has written about higher education for two decades. He is a regular contributor to The Washington Post and the author of three books, including two New York Times bestsellers, “There Is Life After College: What Parents and Students Should Know About Navigating School to Prepare for the Jobs of Tomorrow” (William Morrow, 2016) and “College (Un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students” (Amazon Publishing, 2015). He is the former editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. His writing has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic, and he has appeared on ABC, CNN, PBS, and NPR. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College and a master’s degree in government from Johns Hopkins University.


Philip Serghini is director of public affairs and state and local government relations for Walmart, covering Southern California, Arizona, Utah, and Montana. He joined Walmart in 2005 as a member of its Corporate Affairs team, providing support in several different areas, including helping the company develop new stores throughout the Northeast United States. With more than 20 years of experience in government relations and public affairs, he began his career in the Ohio State Senate as a legislative aide after graduating from Xavier University. He then moved on to take a position as a top aide to the governor of Ohio. Mr. Serghini then moved to New York City, where he held several jobs in both the private and nonprofit sectors.


Andy Smarick is the Morgridge Fellow in Education Policy Studies at AEI, where he works on education and related domestic and social policy issues. Concurrently, he serves as president of the Maryland State Board of Education. He has served as a White House fellow in the Domestic Policy Council; a deputy assistant secretary of planning, evaluation, and policy development at the US Department of Education; and a distinguished visiting fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. He has also served as deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Education, where he helped lead initiatives on an Elementary and Secondary Education Act waiver, the state’s successful Race to the Top application, the launch of a new teacher evaluation system, and an overhaul of the department’s charter school authorization system. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, he has a master of public management degree from the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy.


Ryan Streeter is the director of domestic policy studies at AEI, where he oversees research in education, American citizenship, politics, public opinion, and social and cultural studies. Before joining AEI, he was executive director of the Center for Politics and Governance at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Streeter has had a distinguished career in government service, which includes being deputy chief of staff for policy for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, special assistant for domestic policy to President George W. Bush at the White House, and policy adviser to Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith. Outside of government, he has served as a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute and as a research fellow at the Hudson Institute. He is the author of “Transforming Charity: Toward a Results-Oriented Social Sector” (Hudson Institute, 2001); the editor of “Religion and the Public Square in the 21st Century (Hudson Institute, 2001); the coauthor of “The Soul of Civil Society: Voluntary Associations and the Public Value of Moral Habits” (Lexington Books, 2002); and a contributor to the Stephen Goldsmith book, “Putting Faith in Neighborhoods: Making Cities Work Through Grassroots Citizenship” (Hudson Institute, 2002). In addition to his many television and radio appearances, which include BBC News, CNBC, and Fox News, Dr. Streeter’s articles have been widely published in outlets including National Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Weekly Standard, and The Washington Post. He has a Ph.D. in political philosophy from Emory University, an M.A. from Northern Illinois University, and a B.A. from the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.


Luke Tate serves as assistant vice president and executive director of opportunity initiatives at Arizona State University (ASU), leveraging emerging scientific and technological innovations to expand economic opportunity for middle- and lower-income Americans. He is also professor of practice in ASU’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society and a nonresident fellow at the Urban Institute. Mr. Tate most recently served as special assistant to the president for economic mobility on the White House Domestic Policy Council, where he ran a team working on economic mobility, urban policy, poverty, technology and access to opportunity, open data, housing, homelessness, and long-term disaster recovery. He previously served at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as senior adviser for urban policy and as special assistant to the US secretary of HUD. Mr. Tate was a member of the presidential transition team. Before joining the Obama administration, he did community development and educational work in Nicaragua, and he worked on community policy in the Office of the Governor of Arizona. He is a graduate of Harvard University.


Jason Tyszko is executive director of the Center for Education and Workforce at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, a nonprofit organization that cultivates innovative thinking and develops the initiatives and programs that mobilize the business community to move education and workforce initiatives forward. Mr. Tyszko’s prior experience focused on coordinating interagency education, workforce, and economic development initiatives. In 2009, he served as a policy adviser to Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and was deputy chief of staff and senior policy adviser to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Mr. Tyszko received his M.A. from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from DePaul University. He is a certified teacher in the state of Illinois.


Dawn Wallace is the senior adviser to Gov. Ducey for education and strategic initiatives. She also serves as the director of the Governor’s Office of Education. Ms. Wallace has an extensive background in K–12 and higher education policy and the public budget process. She has served as senior budget analyst for the Arizona Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting in two previous gubernatorial administrations before serving as the deputy director of research staff in the Arizona State Senate and the majority policy adviser for two Arizona House Speakers. Before joining Gov. Ducey’s staff in 2015, she served as the director of government relations for the Maricopa County Community Colleges. She has a B.S. in history from Arizona State University.


Julie Young is the deputy vice president and CEO of Arizona State University Preparatory Academy Digital and a leading voice for revolutionizing K–12 online education on the global stage. Ms. Young started her career as an elementary educator and continues to use that lens today as she designs internationally connected and engaging models of education that keep students at the center. She was the founding president and CEO of Florida Virtual School, where she and her team grew the organization from a handful of students in 1996 to a highly acclaimed online school using personalized, next-generation learning solutions. She graduated with a M.Ed. from the University of South Florida following her undergraduate work at the University of Kentucky.


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