Disruption in Education

What are some of the forces impacting education in 2016?

  • Incorporating technological advances in the classroom
  • Decreasing public funding
  • Increasing class sizes
  • High-stakes testing in K-12
  • Exploding student debt
  • Decreasing on-time college and university graduation rates
  • Scandals in for-profit education
  • Skills gaps and lack of agreement on the purpose of higher education
  • Disconnection between learning outcomes and required workforce KSAs

These forces combine to produce the statistics I cited yesterday: while more than 73 million young people, worldwide, are unemployed, in the US alone, 32% of employers can’t find qualified workers.

Shelly Alcorn, my co-author, and I believe associations are uniquely positioned to help address this gap. I’ll share more about how later this week, or you can find out now by downloading your free copy of The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm at http://bit.ly/29CIquL, no divulging of information about yourself required.


The Perfect Storm

I’d like to share some sobering statistics about higher education and employment:

  • In the United States, students graduate from college with an average debt load of nearly $29,000.
  • Total student debt in the U.S. is $1.23 trillion and rising.
  • 47% of college-educated workers under 25 work in jobs
    that do not require a college degree.
  • Worldwide, 73.3 million people under the age of 25 are unemployed,
    representing 36.7% of total global unemployment.
  • In the United States in 2015, 32% of employers reported
    struggling to find qualified workers.
  • By 2020, 65% of all jobs in the United States will require some
    form of postsecondary education or training.
  • By 2020, the shortfall of postsecondary-educated Americans will
    approach 20 million.
  • 47% of jobs in the United States will be significantly impacted by artificial intelligence and automation within the next decade.

Over the next week, I’ll be blogging about and sharing excerpts from The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm, the eighth white paper in the ongoing Spark collaborative series.

Written with Shelly Alcorn, CAE (Alcorn Associates Management Consulting), the white paper reviews research on the disruptions currently affecting both K-12 and postsecondary education, talks about the future of a workforce impacted by skills gaps and automation, and details what Shelly and I believe to be inherent association advantages in being part of the solution to this significant global socioeconomic problem.

The white paper also features sidebars by Tracy Petrillo, EdD, CAE, Chief Learning Officer, EDUCAUSE (and recent recipient of ASAE’s Professional Performance Award), discussing Competency-Based Education, and by Polly Siobhan Karpowicz,MBA, CAE, ASAE Research Committee, on new research the ASAE Foundation is undertaking in this area.

We also share case studies of organizations doing excellent work preparing their audiences for the future of employment:

  • HR Certification Institute
  • Maryland Association of CPAs
  • National Association of Licensed Practical Nurses
  • Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants

The white paper concludes with practical advice for associations that are eager to get started reshaping education, the employment market, and lifetime learning for the professions and industries you serve.

I’ll be blogging more about the white paper this week, but in the meantime, download your free copy of The Association Role in the New Education Paradigm at http://bit.ly/29CIquL, no divulging of information about yourself required.

And don’t forget to check out the other FREE Spark whitepapers, too:

The Single Biggest Opportunity for Associations Today?

When I was speaking with the nice folks at Naylor for Association Adviser TV, they also asked me to address:

What do you think is the single biggest opportunity for associations today?

My response? Addressing the education to employment gap.

Back in January, I had the opportunity to participate in Shelly Alcorn’s Association Forecast on the same topic. We discussed Education to Employment: Designing a System That Works, a McKinsey research report that brought together global data from students, higher education institutions, and employers to address issues related to workplace readiness. The short version is that we have a crisis in youth unemployment worldwide at the same time as we have a shortage of critical skills. And while colleges and universities think they’re properly preparing students for the workforce, students and employers – and the data – disagree.

McKinsey graph - does education prepare you for employment?

Image credit: McKinsey, Education to Employment, pg. 19

To me, this presents a tremendous opportunity for associations to fill that gap.

There are many ways we could do this: facilitating deep mentoring relationships (thus also allowing us to address the burgeoning retiring members issue), providing REAL professional development (not just some webinars and conference breakout sessions), supporting apprenticeship programs, creating certification programs, creating certificate programs (and no, those are not the same thing).

And it presents the chance for us to do good (for our members and other audiences, and our entire industries and professions) while also doing well (making the switch from being a locus of information and networking people can now get elsewhere, often for free, to providing real value).




#ASAE11 – Tips for First Timers

#ASAE11kicks off in just over a month (damn! already? where is the summer going…?), and I saw a recent tweet asking for tips for first-timers, so I thought I’d share some of mine:

  • Follow the back channel (#ASAE11) – it really will help you keep up on what’s going on, both the published stuff and the unpublished/spontaneous stuff.
  • Don’t overschedule yourself – there’s a lot going on. You are going to miss some stuff. Make peace with that in advance.
  • Do your prep work – check out the preliminary program before you arrive (on the plane is OK) and set a draft game plan for week
  • Have a second option – you might find yourself in a session that’s not that great. Make sure you’ve already thought about what else you might want to do so you don’t feel stuck.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach people – it’s really hard to come to one of these things for the first time alone. You literally feel like the only person with no friends. But (a) I guarantee there are others in the same situation who would appreciate some outreach and (b) we’re association people. We are professional networkers who generally speaking like other people. It’s totally cool to walk up to a group you don’t know and join their conversation. Nervous? Look for me – that’s why my photo’s attached to this post.
  • Have a good time, but not TOO good a time – nothing sucks harder than a hangover at a conference. I know from experience, and it’s a mistake we all make, but hopefully we only make it once.
  • Feel free to tag along – there are a lot of events you might not have been invited to, just because people don’t know you yet. I’m specifically thinking of the vendor events on Sunday night. It is totally OK to tag along with a group you just met that’s going to XX or YY vendor’s party. They WANT to meet you and they WANT you to have a good time.

Resume Tips for New Professionals

And good reminders for not-so-new professionals.

I’ve recently been reviewing resumes (a LOT of resumes) for a summer internship NACHRI is looking to fill, and I have some advice to offer as a result:

The MOST important thing? On the first pass, I’m looking for a reason to knock you out. Don’t give me an easy one.

In addition:

  • Proofread.
  • If the ad calls for specific experience, make sure your resume talks about that specific experience.
  • Don’t provide too much information. If you’re still in college, you don’t merit a 3 page resume. Really, you don’t.
  • But don’t provide too little, either. I got one resume that was gorgeous to look at – pretty font for the name, lots of white space, beautiful lay out. It included – I’m not kidding – 4 really minimal pieces of information. That’s not enough to help me figure out whether or not you’re worth talking to.
  • Pay attention to the job requirements – if you have to have a specific degree or certification, don’t apply if you don’t have it.
  • I know it’s easier for YOU to just call your resume “Resume.doc” or even “NACHRI.doc.” That’s not easier for me. Call it “MyName-NACHRI-Resume.doc.” See? Easy for both of us!
  • Don’t list “Internet browsing” under your skills, tech or otherwise. Telling me you know how to surf the web is not going to dispose me to interview you. Five year olds know how to surf the web.
  • “Your job is perfect for ME ME ME!” Uh, no. It’s about how are YOU going to help NACHRI, not how NACHRI is going to help YOU.
  • Don’t use a “creative” (aka “illegible”) type font. It doesn’t show me what a special, unique flower you are. It shows me that you don’t care if I can read your resume or not.
  • Did I mention proofread? And not just for things like misspelled words. Don’t write an objective that includes “looking for a job at XX” when you’re sending the resume to “YY.”

What about you? What advice can you share to help new job seekers?


If I Knew Then What I Know Now

It’s not exactly a meme, but recently, Conor McNulty posted a request for advice, thoughts, feedback, etc. to Acronym. Topic: what would you have done differently in your association career?

KiKi L’Italien then picked it up as the topic for a recent #assnchat.

I figured I’d add my two cents.

Looking back on your time in associations to date, what would you you have done differently to better your effectiveness? Your career?

I would’ve chosen a different mentor. The person I initially hooked up with was working for an association at the time and knew a lot about the field I’d studied in grad school, but her allegiance was to the field, not to association management. I learned a lot of my work people skills from her, but she really wasn’t able to guide me in association management per se. Pretty much had to do that for myself (I know – I’m such a Gen-Xer!).

I would’ve attended IOM. By the time I even found about it, it was kind of too late. I was post-CAE and had just changed jobs. My new ED had an IOM certificate on his wall. I asked him about it, and he said good things, but also said that since I already had my CAE, it probably wouldn’t be worth the time investment at that point. I think it would’ve been a good experience if I’d hit it at the right point in my career.

I would’ve gotten more involved with ASAE sooner. I joined, at the recommendation of my first ED, pretty much as soon as I started working in associations (1997), but I didn’t really start getting involved until after I earned my CAE in 2004. That’s a lot of wasted time.

There’s one job I wouldn’t have taken. I got dazzled by the flash and didn’t ask enough or the right questions, and it resulted in one of the most unpleasant periods of my life. But I suspect we all have at least one of those.

What do you see as a common, yet avoidable mistake for young professionals?

Don’t just chase the money. Strange thing to say in associations, I know, but even in our world, it is possible. And it’s SO tempting, particularly when you’re on the lower end of the association pay scale and you have school debt and want to buy a car, get rid of the roommates, get married, etc. and even a few extra thousand dollars would make a HUGE difference. That’s not to say don’t change jobs – definitely change jobs, but be sure that it’s about opportunity, getting you closer to your career goals, fit, broadening experience…AND more money.

Make friends and contacts of ALL ages. It’s really easy to surround yourself, at least primarily, with people who are in similar career/life stages. But reaching out to and regularly interacting with people both older/more senior and younger/less senior than you really broadens your perspective.

Keep your cool, women especially. This is still enough of a man’s world that if a woman gets visibly upset in the office, it’s bad for our career prospects – we’re “too emotional” or “irrational” or “can’t handle tough situations.” Which is all BS, and men get upset all the time, too, and aren’t punished for it, so it’s doubly unfair. But you have to be able to stay calm, at least on the outside, even if you’re sad or angry or stressed or scared or overwhelmed. Go for a walk and call your mom or your best friend or your significant other or your shrink, but do NOT lose it in front of your colleagues, no matter what. And NEVER cry in the office. NEVER.

What tools have you found to be most beneficial for your work?

It’s not a tool – it’s a technique. When somebody hits you up with a request for a favor in a professional context, ALWAYS try to help them out, or connect them to someone who can. Call it good karma, or ninja-level networking, or spreading the love, or paying it forward, or whatever, but people remember that you tried to help them and that you know people. Someday, you’ll need help, and if you’re known as a person who tries to connect people with solutions to their problems, you won’t even have to call in chips – people will line up to help you.

I’m going to add a final question I think is also important: “What would you absolutely, positively do again?

Study what I wanted to for my grad degree, rather than forcing myself through the drudgery of an MBA.

Take the opportunity to attend Future Leaders when it was presented in 2004.

Earn my CAE.