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April 21, 2016

Over three days in April, thought leaders and entrepreneurs in education technology gathered at the ASU GSV Summit (April 18–20) at the Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego to share ideas and engage each other in thought-provoking conversations on how to use technology to customize learning and on the future of work.

<--break->” src=”/sites/all/modules/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif” title=”<--break-->” /><img decoding=The conference gathers education technology professionals to help foster growth and innovation. Speakers and honorees this year include luminaries such as Bill Gates, Common, Dr. Condoleeza Rice, Guy Kawasaki, Dr. Paul Jacobs, Frank Gehry and General Stanley McChrystal.

This year, San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) was involved with the conference in a few ways.

SDWP, along with San Diego Grantmakers and San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, co-sponsored a 24-hour pre-summit hackathon organized by Blue1647 and ASU GSV Summit, where 35 students ages 12–17 from Reality Changers and Vista Unified School District worked to identify a problem in their communities and built an app to address the issue, all while learning to code along the way. (Watch a video recap here.)

SDWP President and CEO Peter Callstrom helped kickstart the hackathon. VP and Chief Programs Officer Andy Hall was on the panel of judges after the students presented their findings and work.

In addition to the hackathon, a collaboration between Roadtrip Nation and SDWP made it possible for three students from San Diego City College — Karla Aguilar, Ana Karina Lomeli Cadenas and Katya Echazarreta — to attend this exclusive conference and learn from renowned education and technology leaders as part of the Roadtrip Nation Experience, a project-based curriculum stemming from Roadtrip Nation’s long-running public television series.

All three students are participants of the Price Scholarship Program at San Diego City College, which provides assistance to students to fulfill their educational goals as well as valuable experience through structured job shadowing, community service and internships. SDWP collaborates with the Price Scholarship Program to provide work-readiness training and summer career pathway development for students in their first year of the program.

The Roadtrip Nation Experience worked with the students to help them with interview skills, both on the fly and in a more formal setting. The objective is for the students to develop relationships with like-minded mentors by interviewing leaders in attendance at ASU GSV, ask thought-provoking questions, and, through the process, learn more about their own interests.

“I was excited to attend the ASU GSV Summit and interview CEOs of tech companies and hear from people like Bill Gates,” said Katya, a third-year electrical engineering student at San Diego City College, intern at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center and vice president of the Society of Women Engineers and Future Leaders Club. “Attending this conference exposed me to current innovation models around the world.”

“This was an incredible opportunity for young people to learn from leaders in technology and education,” says SDWP President and CEO Peter Callstrom. “Attending this prestigious conference at such a young age will hopefully spark ideas on career pathways they hadn’t considered before.”

One of the main takeaways for Katya is that even for those who have found and created success, often, “they are still trying to figure out what they are doing as they go along.”

Lastly, SDWP also had a role in a Future of Work panel discussion. Callstrom participated in a panel called “Upskilling for Economic Mobility and Success,” with Phil Blair and Jamai Blivin, CEOs of Manpower San Diego and Innovate + Educate, respectively. The panelists discussed the opportunities and challenges of workers who are pursuing increased economic mobility, how well their upskilling and training lead to jobs, how deeply their skills align to employer needs, how the workforce system is adapting to the changing economy and how well employers and job seekers know how to navigate the complicated world of education and training that leads to in-demand careers.

Blivin was concerned that often many descriptions in job listings list skill requirements that have very little to do with the actual competencies required for that particular position. She offered that many HR departments could be trained to write more accurate job descriptions so job seekers are not turned away for lack of listed skills required.

Blair talked about the importance of essential (aka soft) skills like attitude; hard skills, he said, can always be trained. Indeed, so many employers are seeking candidates with strong essential skills that SDWP has created a poster to explain to job seekers what these are and how to obtain them.

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