During the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to attend two seminars that put my profession as an educator at Kennesaw State into a greater perspective.
On August 22, Accenture, in collaboration with the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, hosted a half-day session on the Inclusive Future of Work. The working session, expertly facilitated by professionals from Accenture, focused solely on creating concepts and action plans for bringing less-advantaged people into the modern workforce. It was productive, drawing out insights from community leaders such as Art Recesso from the University System of Georgia and Andre Dickens from TechBridge and the Atlanta City Council. I scribbled notes as fast as I could, yet still couldn’t keep up with the stream of good ideas.
Last week, I attended the Cobb Chamber of Commerce lunch with the Construction & Trades Industry Council. John Loud moderated a discussion among people committed to helping teenagers and young adults find well-paying jobs as electricians, plumbers, and welders, including Zach Fields of the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia and Jackie Brown of the Technical and Agricultural Education division of Cobb County Schools. This session reminded me that there are a number of in-demand career paths for people who do not have a college degree, but who are willing to work hard at a trade.
Since I was five years old, there have been only two years of my life in which I was not enrolled in some sort of degree-seeking program. While I have spent my career in higher education, I am grateful for reminders that there are many paths to professional success, and that there are organizations committed to helping young people find their way to them.