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Tuesday, September 11, 2012
The Other America: Then and Now - Increasing global competitiveness through informal science education
2:15 PM -  3:45 PM

Students in the U.S. currently rank 25th in math and 17th in science among their peers in other industrialized countries. Yet research shows that 80 percent of future jobs will require literacy and skills in these areas. To meet future workforce needs and maintain our global competitiveness, we must improve science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills among students and increase access to STEM careers particularly among underrepresented populations. Afterschool programs have begun to play a significant role in developing new informal science education approaches for students across the country. This panel will explore future workforce demands in STEM fields, provide statewide examples of how STEM afterschool initiatives are developing college and career-ready students, and discuss the importance of informal science education initiatives for student success.

The Other America: Then and Now - The future of workforce development: Employment challenges and the skill needs of companies and communities
2:15 PM -  3:45 PM

The recent recession and weak economic recovery have been characterized by historically high rates of long-term unemployment. Workers confronted with persistent unemployment face a number of challenges, including the threat of skills atrophy and becoming less attractive to prospective employers. Moreover, the dichotomy between workers continues to expand, as those with high levels of education and skills can command high wages, and those with little education and low skill levels can command only low wages in the service industry. Workforce development efforts are responding to these challenges with different approaches, many with an emphasis on business and industry sector-based approaches. This session will explore the employment and skill-building challenges and opportunities in different communities around the state and describe successful efforts to increase employment and satisfy the demand of local businesses.

The Other America: Then and Now - One nation, (in)divisible: The future of inequality in America
4:00 PM -  5:30 PM

How big is the current cultural, economic, and social divide? How does it differ from the divide Michael Harrington brought to light 50 years ago in his book, The Other America? What is the role of government as inequality rises? What can be done to close the gap? Syndicated columnist, Clarence Page, will moderate this debate between Jared Bernstein and Charles Murray on the future of inequality in America.