A strong workforce depends on quality training and education at all stages of life.
A smart economy requires nimble education and training institutions focused on the evolving skills needs of the private sector. The region needs top-notch K-12, vocational, and university education options to serve everyone, at all ages. An inclusive smart city also needs to emphasize narrowing the digital literacy gap and making the internet accessible in order to ensure benefits for all.
While Greater Washington is the most educated metropolitan area in the country according to a 2016 U.S. Census Bureau community survey, many children and adults are left behind. Governments, universities, vocational training institutions, and the private sector must work together to match the region’s training and education options with long-term skills needs. In other U.S. cities such as Pittsburgh and Columbus, recent experience proves that local university consortia and community development organizations form core pillars of support for revitalized high-tech industry.
We should explore a variety of technology and policy means to ensure a robust human capital ecosystem aligned for a smarter Greater Washington. Technologies themselves may improve educational outcomes via personalized learning and evaluation, adaptive lessons, tracking employment outcomes, and predictive analytics for struggling students. Retraining programs, e-career centers, and digital hiring platforms can ease labor market transitions. We also need to find new ways to capitalize on the brain trust of retired thought leaders and luminaries in the region via innovative mentorship programs.