The Age of Agility has arrived, yet the U.S. is not well prepared to face the challenges and seize the opportunities it brings. To thrive in the future workforce, which is being drastically redefined by technological advances, we will need to get comfortable with uncertainty, embrace flexibility, reset expectations about the employer-employee relationship, and become constant learners.
We are in the early stages of a rapidly accelerating revolution that will bring automation and artificial intelligence into sectors of the workforce that have, until now, been spared this latest wave of disruptive change. Millions of jobs are at short- or medium-term risk of disappearing. At the same time, countless new opportunities and industries are expected to emerge. In combination, these changes have enormous implications for today’s workers.
Those who will survive and thrive in this new reality will have to be highly agile, creative, critical thinkers, comfortable in diverse environments, and open to a future far more fluid than that to which we are accustomed. Unfortunately, our current education system has long been behind the curve in preparing students for the current world of work, let alone the new Age of Agility. Without profound and rapid changes to how we educate our children, this nation faces the real possibility of falling farther behind countries with nimbler and more innovative education systems.
“(Education needs to be) preparing students for jobs that don’t exist and to use technologies, sciences, and methods that we haven’t even discovered yet, to solve problems that we haven’t identified.”
“In our increasingly complex world, equipping our youth with the financial knowledge and behaviors they need to improve their employment and economic advancement opportunities is essential. Helping youth understand how today’s actions can influence their future opportunities will increase their agility in achieving personal, professional, and lifetime success.”
President, Charles Schwab Community Services
“We need to make sure our schools are educating kids and their parents on what is driving our economy, and their future opportunities, and prepare them for that.”
Human Resource Assistant Senior Manager, Subaru of Indiana Automotive
“We have not solved the technical training problem of the last generation, even as we are very quickly moving into this new AI and robotics space.”
Vice President for Human Resources Operations
“Businesses, skills providers, non-profits and governments at all levels have to find new ways to work together to ensure people are equipped to succeed in rapidly changing workplaces.”
Director of Global Public Policy
“High schools and colleges in the U.S. are not turning out graduates with the mix of technical expertise, soft skills, problem- solving ability and communication skills that companies like Toyota need.”
Assistant Manager, Toyota North American Production Support Center
“We need to hire people who can maintain and work on this high-tech equipment we’re putting into the factories to keep up with growing worldwide demand for our products.”
“There used to be a more or less steady state. Now it is just constant change. The ability to adapt and change is the key to the future.”
Vice President and Business Information Officer
“Revolutionary advances in technology have translated to amazing new products in our businesses, which highlights the need for changes to the education and training of our future workforce. We need these changes to start earlier and to include both technical and soft skills, such as critical thinking, problem-solving and working with diverse teams.”
David P. Eddy
Site Director of Boeing Colorado
“In the coming years, pressure to reexamine the ways in which companies identify and develop talent will only accelerate as forces like AI and automation reshape entire industries and professions.”
CEO and Co-Founder, General Assembly
“We are committed to investing in the development of our team members because a skilled and trained workforce is critical to the success of Tyson Foods. In the same way we add value to our product, we strive to add value to our team members and offer training to help them succeed in the workplace.”
Senior Director of Maintenance & Refrigeration, Tyson Foods
“We’re looking for candidates who are passionate and driven to succeed in their particular area, who learn new concepts and technology quickly, who are curious and innovative and who have a strong sense of integrity.”
Senior Vice President of Recruiting and Human Relations
Agility Alliance Declaration
The Agility Alliance unites business and education behind a collective commitment to all of America’s students—to create agile and responsive education-to-workforce pathways and opportunities.
The Age of Agility has arrived. Advanced technology, artificial intelligence, and automation are radically reshaping the way we work. Tasks, jobs, companies, and entire industries are being transformed. While some view this rapid change as a threat, others are ready to capitalize on the opportunities this new economy brings. One thing is clear: we must act now to prepare individuals and communities to survive and thrive in the new era. We believe education is the key.
Our vision for education in the Age of Agility empowers students to master the skills and mindset for success in the future. It enables lifelong learners to continuously improve their portfolio of knowledge, abilities, and experiences. It empowers educators to maximize their contributions to the rapidly changing workforce. We envision an agile system that is nimble and responsive to the needs of learners, incenting the development of a diverse array of opportunity pathways with permeability between school and work.
CALL TO ACTION
It’s time to join forces to make this vision a reality. The Agility Alliance is comprised of leaders from business, education, government, and advocacy who are committed to modernizing education and workforce training pathways. Join this movement to create agile and responsive education systems and robust and reliable pipelines of talented people ready to confront the future of work.
We, the undersigned, proudly serve as members of the Agility Alliance, to ensure all learners are prepared to succeed in a competitive global economy and contribute to their local community. We are on a mission to:
- Embed agility as a core tenet of education systems in every state, as demonstrated by the adoption of state-level policy and strategies to create more agile learners, educators and systems.
- Expand pathways and increase access from K-12 to high-quality post-secondary programs and industry credentials to promote the seamless progression from education to career.