Education, Diversity, and the Fourth Industrial Revolution Panel at WEF 2017 with Jamie Miller, President & CEO, GE Transport; SVP, GE. (Photo by Intel)
This past week I attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland with leaders from government, industry, and civil society to discuss opportunities and challenges being created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Technological innovation is reshaping entire industries and profoundly impacting how we live, work, and play. And while it is providing significant opportunities for progress, increased access, and new business models that will transform societies, it also is widening the skills gap globally, particularly for youth already facing inequalities.
Over the past two decades, Intel has invested deeply in education to increase academic achievement in science, technology, engineering, and math. I previously served as Intel’s Chief Diversity Officer focused on driving more inclusion into our company and industry. Our progress, while not complete, has made a difference. However, as we now look forward, we must face the reality that nearly 300 million youth are not in school, not employed, and continue to lack the fundamental skills to gain meaningful employment in the future.1 Every day that innovation and technology progresses, their skills and opportunities fall further behind. We are committed to working across the entire ecosystem to address this reality.
Collaboration across sectors, communities, and organizations will be critical to making sustained progress in addressing this challenge. I am honored to serve on the advisory board for the Global Business Coalition for Education (GBC-Education) whose fundamental mission is to engage the private sector in working together with governments and nonprofits to ensure access to quality education and learning for all children. In Davos, I met with Gordon Brown, United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education and Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to talk about this focus, our work, and how we can move forward with the sense of urgency this crisis requires.
With that in mind, I hosted a dinner roundtable with 20 phenomenal thought leaders from the philanthropic, corporate, and NGO sector. We shared our ideas and experiences and were deeply informed by the WEF Global Young Leaders through their relevant and timely insights. We must find new ways to engage with young people that gives them the belief that they can take advantage of the new world. Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, captivated the audience with her own call to action and a strong reminder to also keep the emphasis on girls and women in all we do.
As I return from Davos focused on our own next steps, I am excited to build on Intel’s long history of commitment to education. We will soon formally launch the Intel® Innovation Generation with a goal to ensure that the next generation of workers and innovators is more diverse by gender, ethnicity, economic status, and geography. I am encouraged by the tremendous feedback we have received to date from those who believe in this mission and want to engage additional partners for impact. As we launch our workforce training efforts in new innovative ways, I look forward to sharing our progress and learnings. Davos is not about solving the greatest challenges of the world in one week, but rather convening those who have the passion, influence, and capacity to move the agenda forward.
Collaboration and partnerships are critical. With the entire GBC-Education community and beyond, I am confident that by working together we can profoundly improve the lives of youth if we stay focused, committed, inclusive, and open to thinking in new ways. When young people are provided with the tools, resources, and confidence to achieve, they do. And when this happens for more of them, they will help create the best future possible for everyone.
1The Economist. “Youth Unemployment: Generation Joblessness.” April 2013. http://www.economist.com/news/international/21576657-around-world-almost-300m-15-24-year-olds-are-not-working-what-has-caused