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Stakeholders Must Collaborate to Improve Work Force Readiness

A preliminary report from the Conference Board concludes that the most vital course of action currently needed on work force readiness is for business, education, and community groups to work together toward developing a shared sense of responsibility. Corporate Voices for Working Families, Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and the Society for Human Resource Management joined the board in making this recommendation. The four organizations met after releasing a work force readiness report in the fall of 2006, "Are They Really Ready to Work?" That report concluded, "The future work force is here and it is ill-prepared." The new report is based on comments collected at a two-day session attended by representatives of groups involved in improving work force readiness: Fortune 100 companies, nonprofit organizations involved with educational improvement, and elementary and secondary school teachers and school superintendents. Suggestions for improvement offered by the meeting's attendees included the following: stakeholders must work toward changes that are sustainable, not "quick fixes"; "soft skills" (e.g., ability to communicate, to think creatively) are now considered essential; school success must be redefined to include assessments for teamwork, civic involvement, professionalism, communication, and analytical thinking; stakeholders must foster a love of life-long learning; schools need to continue reinventing and re-educating themselves in a world of fast-paced economic change.

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