- Strada Education Network, a nonprofit educational advocacy organization, announced plans to launch a research and development division dedicated to helping adult learners prepare for training and future careers.
- The Strada Institute for the Future of Work will be designed to complement the organization's philanthropic and investment priorities, which include a recently announced $1.5 million seed funding campaign to support businesses that help working adults to connect to professional and learning opportunities.
- Officials said the institute will produce research on education-to-employment pathways, with particular emphasis on vocational training and how automation and artificial intelligence will shape career opportunities.
Creating opportunities for adult learners was the top higher education obsession for the 2017 Education Dive Awards, an indication of how much these students will drive the focus and resources of higher education in the near future. Positioning adults for success is a key element of sustaining a middle class in a growing chasm of economic opportunity, being driven by dramatic changes in industry.
Research suggests that careers with livable earnings that do not require college degrees are still accessible and that most of what fuels public discontent with the cost and value of higher education is separating what is needed to acquire skills for a career versus the elements that do nothing to advance industrial knowledge or credentialing for students.
To this end, colleges and universities that recognize the growing need of adult learners and meet their needs will distinguish themselves as the go-to resources for companies like Amazon, Google and others that will redefine American commerce and definitions of local franchising. These companies will be in desperate need of employees who have the maturity and skills to lead teams and handle crisis and who can be committed to long-term placement to help operations run smoothly and businesses grow.
While community colleges may be growing as an affordable option for mid-level career training, universities and colleges can fast-track managerial and executive talent that will drive companies into a new opportunities.