Community Engagement
Education is the Promise of a Future
Dan Pelino
Dan Pelino

Today’s learners must be able to think critically, recognize patterns, solve problems and communicate effectively in the workforce and society to be successful.  Sixty-three percent of education leaders state job placement as the leading success factor for higher education, though only 43% of industry leaders indicate higher education is preparing learners with the needed workforce skills.

To close the gap between the prepared and unprepared, leaders are investing in education like never before and institutions are evolving to provide practical and applied education experiences.  By infusing experienced-based learning techniques, real-world teaching (internships, apprenticeships) and a personalized approach to the curriculum, retention rates can improve and job placements are more successful.

Higher educational institutions are using and benefiting from big data and cognitive capabilities to learn and reason from all the structured and unstructured data, providing faculty greater insight into their students’ background and progress, but also giving students better dashboards that expose future demand for jobs and career options matched to their skills and interest.  This learning approach is attracting motivated students to these institutions improving the learner experience.

P-TECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School), an innovative education model co-developed by IBM, is helping to reinvent high school and preparing youth, particularly at-risk students, to go beyond high school, earn a college degree, and enter the workforce with skills that employers need. Within six years, students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree. The model helps young people to be college and career-ready with STEM skills – disciplines that underpin some of the fastest growing industries in the U.S.

June 2015, 6 teens graduated early from IBM-Affiliated School: Clockwise from far right: IBM Manager Will Ehrenfeld; and P-TECH students Cletus Andoh; Gabriel Rosa; Radcliffe Saddler; Rahat Mahmud; Michelle Nguyen; Kiambu Gall. (Augustus F Menezes/Feature Photo Service for IBM)

IBM Watson solutions are helping in areas of student engagement, academic discovery and teacher advising.  The ability to learn and reason using natural language and scouring through the endless amounts of data to provide answers to questions is the hallmark of Watson.  Deakin University in Australia is using Watson Engagement Advisor to help students navigate through campus life and their career questions and choices.  Other institutions around the world like in Alberta, Thailand, Brazil, Japan and the United States are using cognitive capabilities, mobile, social and deep data insights to help their students towards a path to success for the jobs of the future.

The education ecosystem includes partnerships across industry, academia and government and 57 percent of these leaders agree collaboration is necessary to effectively deliver practical skills development. A new economic model needs to be established rather than a traditional one with multiple participants all with the common goal of economic prosperity.

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As general manager of IBM’s public sector business, Dan Pelino leads IBM’s business with government, educational institutions, public and private healthcare providers and payers, biotech and pharmaceutical companies, medical device and instrument companies, as well as consumer organizations worldwide and leads IBM’s Smarter Cities initiative. Mr. Pelino is a recognized expert in economic development, citizen-based services and healthcare. He and his team have helped organizations, states and countries transform and digitize their systems. He is also a member of IBM’s Industry Academy.

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