2 min read

Horizons: Looking Back to See Beyond

“We need to . . . do a better job of making the time to truly step back and reimagine and to let ourselves really think about what’s possible if we look beyond the status quo.”
—Jobs for the Future CEO Maria Flynn

Join Jobs for the Future (JFF) as we wrap up the first season of the Horizons podcast, which revisits highlights from our completely virtual 2021 Horizons summit.

In this final episode, host Tameshia Bridges Mansfield, who is JFF’s vice president for workforce innovation, and JFF President and CEO Maria Flynn take a look back to explore what it means to See Beyond—the theme of this year’s Horizons summit—so we can reimagine and transform the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.

Teeing up what will be two days connection and conversation at Horizons in New Orleans June 7-8, Maria and Tameshia discuss some of the key themes that emerged in the first seven episodes of the podcast.

The need for cross-sector collaboration among all stakeholders in the learn and work ecosystem was a topic of conversation in several episodes.

For example, Episode 2, “Education Meets Employment: The Need for Collaboration,” featured a clip of Kaya Henderson, CEO of Reconstruction, telling Horizons attendees that building a future in which all learners, workers, and employers can succeed “takes the proverbial village.”

And in Episode 7, “Cabinet Secretaries Commit to Scaling Equity and Opportunity,” the leaders of the U.S. departments of Labor, Commerce, and Education said their organizations are cooperating and collaborating on efforts to build more equitable workforce and education systems.

The Double-Edged Sword of AI

As the mothers of young daughters, Maria and Tameshia share a fascination with—and questions about—artificial intelligence, or AI, which will likely have a big impact on the educations of their children and the millions of other learners. They discuss those issues as they recall Episode 4, “AI in Learning and Work: A Double-Edged Sword,” which features clips of panelists saying that while AI could significantly improve education systems, it could also perpetuate inequality if the applications it drives aren’t equity-focused.

In addition to looking back at highlights like those, Maria looks ahead to this year’s Horizons, which for many attendees will be the first in-person event they’ve attended in a couple of years. She points out that the programs on tap for our summit in New Orleans June 7-8 will be built around JFF’s five strategic focus areas: creating learner and worker opportunity, strengthening education and career navigation, ensuring program quality and efficacy, integrating learning and work, and building strong regional economies.

Those who will be joining us in New Orleans include not only leaders from the worlds of business, philanthropy, policy, higher education, and community action, but also workers and learners who are exploring their options and navigating their career and education journeys.

They all will share experiences and offer ideas that enable us to put the future of education and employment into focus and See Beyond to find solutions that allow us to build new systems and create equitable opportunities for economic advancement for all.



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