At America Succeeds, we are on a mission. Over the past few years, we have zeroed in on a specific problem on the horizon: we send our children to school to prepare them for the real world, which is changing very fast, but our schools have not evolved at the same pace. To solve it, we aim to find the best thinkers and doers to develop real solutions and activate them.
Extreme innovations in technology are forcing radical shifts in the workforce and, consequently, drastic changes are needed in how we educate students. Technologists, futurists, and business leaders alike are referring to this fundamental shift as the next Industrial Revolution. We call it the Age of Agility, and we call for changes in education that match the forces of change in the workforce and economy.
The Age of Agility Report
In fall 2017, America Succeeds released The Age of Agility: Education Pathways for the Future of Work to call attention to the misalignment between what is being taught in schools—both K-12 and higher education—and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors required by the modern workplace.
As a society, we are in the early stages of a rapidly accelerating revolution that is bringing automation, artificial intelligence, and technology into parts of the workforce that have, until now, escaped this latest wave of disruptive change.
The report presents compelling data about this seismic shift. It shows how some companies are adapting. It explores how each one of us will have to take ownership of a lifetime of learning, a constant process of retraining and reeducating ourselves as the world around us lurches into the uncertain future.
The National Tour
In the report, America Succeeds committed to partnering with local stakeholder groups in states across the country to facilitate community conversations, and ultimately actions, on what the Age of Agility means for restructuring the way we deliver education.
With the support of our tour co-host, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, and our national sponsors we launched the Age of Agility national tour in April 2018. The inaugural event was held in Arizona, before continuing on to Kansas and Missouri, New Mexico, Illinois, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Idaho, Arkansas, and New Jersey. The national tour wrapped up with a final event in Washington, D.C. in January 2019.
Over 1,200 attendees participated in the Age of Agility tour events across the country. Collectively, these stakeholders represent a national movement of changemakers ready to make a systems-level impact on education.
The Resource Bank
At each event along the Age of Agility National Tour, participants engaged in a candid dialogue about confronting the challenges and championing the solutions necessary for modernizing the education system to support the future of work. From these conversations, three big ideas for learners, systems, and educators emerged.
Together, these ideas lay the foundation for an agile approach to education in the future. However, we know that simply having a vision isn’t enough. That’s why we’ve created the Agility Resource Bank.
The Agility Resource Bank features the most promising policies to transform education-to-employment pathways around the big ideas. Leveraging collective learning and insight, our goal is to encourage states to embed agility as a core tenet of their education system using these model policies as a guide.
The Agility Alliance
The Agility Alliance is designed to signal to companies, policymakers, and education organizations a clear direction and mandate to better prepare students for the rapidly changing future.
It showcases the broad support for, and urgency of, modernizing public education systems and building agile workforce training pathways. More than 40 organizations are partnering in this effort, with support growing from across the country every day.
Through our collective efforts and influence, we can improve education systems to better prepare all learners to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their local communities.
The Agility Thriving Report
In fall 2020, America Succeeds released Agility Thriving: Education Adapting in a Time of Disruption. The original report contends, “the bottom line is straightforward: if students and workers must be agile and adaptable to succeed in this new world, then the same holds true for the education system that prepares them.” Graduates need to prepare for radical societal and workplace disruptions if they are to have any shot at thriving personally or professionally.
The disruptive force of a global pandemic, however, was beyond anything we could have imagined. Amidst incredible uncertainty, thousands of school leaders and educators, alongside countless parents and families, have risen to face the many challenges of COVID-19. The brightest among these embody organization-wide agility.
This report is about those stories, promising agile practices and innovations that have emerged from a monumentally challenging time. Our goal is to inspire a collective sense of hope that we can create a more prepared, more equitable, more agile, and more resilient education system moving forward.
The Age of Agility means resilience, a comfortableness with change, and real curiosity to be a life-long learner.
The Age of Agility means a workforce that not only has the technical skills that industry needs, but also the 21st-century skills—such as critical and creative thinking, collaboration, and teamwork.
The Age of Agility means looking at challenges and opportunities as the same thing.