The second annual Higher Education: Current Issues and Trends training day on February 5, 2016 began with a discussion with top industry officials in Kentucky. Our panel was comprised of Hal Heiner, recently appointed Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Cabinet for the Commonwealth; Gary Cox, President of Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities; Robin Kinney, Associate Commissioner of Assessment and Accountability for the Education Commissioner’s Office; and Bob King, President of Council on Postsecondary Education.
Specific takeaways to note from the panel:
- Hal Heiner noted that Kentucky was in the top of most of Forbes’ recent Best States for Business rankings; however, Kentucky’s labor supply ranked 46th in the country which lowered its overall position. Education needs to be a top priority in order to improve this anomalous labor supply ranking
- Gary Cox challenged attendees to keep communications open and be more collaborative
- Robin Kinney announced her goal of preparing every child upon high school graduation for their next opportunity in life. In many cases, that next opportunity is postsecondary education
- Bob King Bob King announced that technology is changing the skills needed for most jobs, even low-wage, manual labor jobs. Any repetitive task that has the capacity to be converted into an algorithm can be replaced by a machine. Our challenge is to develop a workforce whose skills and capabilities are least likely to be replaced by a machine. Such skills include literacy, communication, theoretical thinking, and analytical problem-solving.