WorkingNation Founder and CEO Art Bilger hosted a panel at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania’s Nation Brand Conference on Oct. 28 to discuss what he considers is the most significant issue facing our nation: a potential massive structural unemployment where we could face rates of up to 25-40%. Bilger founded WorkingNation to help shed light on this issue and how the four key variables—globalization, technology, longevity (people living longer and working longer), and broken education—are coming together to create the Slope of the Curve that has changed dramatically in terms of jobs and skills measured against time. But his mission for WorkingNation is not just to identify the problems, but the solutions as well. Experts who joined Bilger on the panel included: Crystal Bridgeman—Senior Director of Workforce Development Programs, Siemens Foundation Chauncy Lennon—Managing Director and Head of Workforce Initiatives, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase Phillip Carlsson-Szlezak—Chief Economist, Boston Consulting Group; Leader of firm’s Center for Macroeconomics Martin Scaglione—President and CEO of Hope Street Group TV journalist David Shuster served as the moderator for the panel. Some of the topics/questions discussed during the panel included:
  1. With 47% of all jobs over the next 20 years expected to disappear, according to Oxford, what does the macroeconomic picture look like?
  2. How is the process going getting access to STEM education across demographics and what kind of support is it getting?
  3. The theory that the solution to this issue will come at the state, regional, local levels
  4. The feeling that our institutions are not doing the job to relieve our economic anxieties in a climate that is transforming quickly.
  5. If the U.S. is not able to come up with a competitive solution, what does that do overall to the U.S. brand as it relates to jobs (American ingenuity, the Land of Opportunity) and relatedly to the U.S. economy?
  6. Where is the U.S. positioned in solving this problem in relation to other countries?
  7. Perceptions of a four-year college vs. an apprenticeship
  8. Importance of reinvention of new skills for staying relevant in the future workforce