The first two articles in this series on the technology skills gap focused on numbers. Lots of numbers. Numbers of Americans unemployed and underemployed. Numbers of open jobs that firms cannot fill because they claim applicants do not have the needed skills. And the shocking numbers earned by American students in international assessment examinations that rank them 32nd in the world in mathematics and 22nd in science. Not a beneficial return on investment for another stunning number: the $600 billion American taxpayers spend annually on public education in the United States.
But this final segment of the series will shove aside numbers to focus on "people." People who have crafted innovative public/private partnerships that are demonstratively closing the science and math skills gap in America.
I write about these human efforts in my book, "Let's Build Some Arks." The title was borrowed from a story I read about Louis V. Gerstner,Jr., the former chairman and CEO of IBM. When Gerstner joined the company from RJR/Nabisco in 1993, IBM was in a state of disarray.
Wall Street analysts pleaded with Gerstner to split up the company. But the new CEO ignored those calls and instead met with thousands of IBM employees asking for their advice on how to keep the company whole with these words: "no points for predicting rain, points only earned for building arks." Gerstner wanted solutions and he got them as he revitalized an American business icon.
What follows are 12 examples of "arks." That is, extraordinary public/private partnerships aimed at helping the United States bridge the skills gap our nation faces.