Event Information

GUEST COMMENTARY: NWI success is all about the 'we'

Date: 3/7/2017 through 3/7/2017

March 6, 2017

As I find myself struggling to accomplish all items listed on my to-do list, I still manage to keep the top of my desk in immaculate shape. But that darn list seemingly has no end to it.

By chance, my favorite author’s new book — "Thank You for Being Late" — offers an explanation to this madness. The subtitle to Tom Friedman’s latest writing is “An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.”

As I suspected, it is not our advancing age but the pace of our lives that finds us struggling to do all that we seek to do. That wasn’t a senior moment; it was life swooshing by at 250 mph.

Friedman suggests regional economies can thrive and stay ahead of the curve if folks can put aside their egos, beliefs and loyalties for a common cause.

Friedman paid a visit to his hometown of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, and discovered an extraordinary culture in place. He found business and community leaders— Republicans and Democrats — casting aside political affiliation and instead rallying around laws good for their community.

Success is easier when you have lots of people proudly saying, “We made that happen.”

I am convinced Northwest Indiana is adopting that can-do attitude for the good of our Region. The term One Region isn’t an empty slogan. Look at our track record:

  • The circle of schools involved in READY NWI added additional partners in 2016. Organized to promote college and career options for graduating seniors, the READY NWI membership roster now boasts the participation of 28 school districts in addition to eight colleges and universities.
  • Thanks to the increasing number of high school and college partnerships, high school students are earning college credit while still in high school through dual credit and Early College programs. This reduces the cost of earning a college degree and assists in setting a clear career path for those students.
  • Work is underway to reduce the overlap and duplication among several regional boards focused on education, workforce and economic development. The end goal of the Northwest Indiana Workforce Partnership (NWIWP) is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of efforts.
  • The same concept of the NWIWP is occurring for regional planning and economic development with the Northwest Indiana Forum, NIRPC, RDA, RDC, NICTD, One Region, CWI and others.
  • More employers are offering and promoting ongoing training for their workforce. The Northwest Indiana Workforce Board provided the leadership to direct federal funds to upgrade the skills of more than 700 job seekers and existing workers.

But we need to keep moving forward. We cannot permit the acceleration of change to leave us further behind in our work.

Here’s why: According to studies, including one cited in The Wall Street Journal, our country has fewer “routine jobs” such as bank tellers and welding machine operators. Technology will continue to permeate all jobs and require a higher level of skills. Initiatives, such as coding academies for K-12 students and cyber security programs being offered at our colleges and universities, are vital to our future.

As the United States continues to move from a manufacturing economy to a digital economy, we must continue to align human capital development with economic development. With existing companies expanding, the attraction of new companies and the vision of the South Shore commuter rail dual tracking and the West Lake Corridor rail expansion, our future is bright, and the economy will expand.

Ringo Starr had it right when he sang, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” As friends we can move forward if we are all willing to be a “we.”

Linda Woloshansky is president and CEO of the Center of Workforce Innovations, headquartered in Valparaiso. The opinions are the writer's.

Source: http://www.nwitimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/guest-commentary/guest-commentary-nwi-success-is-all-about-the-we/article_c89e290e-0d22-561d-be2d-29d15bacc222.html

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