[Podcast] Keeping U.S. Higher Education Competitive For 2030 and Beyond | Maher & Maher
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Keeping U.S. Higher Education Competitive For 2030 and Beyond, The 4th Industrial Revolution

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In this 35-minute episode, host Rick Maher is joined by Dr. James Applegate from the Office of the President at the Center for Educational Policy at Illinois State University. Dr. Applegate discusses the coming “Fourth Industrial Revolution” that will have the capacity to disrupt the job market with tech innovations like AI, machine learning and 3D printing – potentially causing by 2030, nearly 350 million workers globally to need “re-skilling” to stay employable. Dr. Applegate reveals how such a future could shape our educational system. He also shares insights about U.S. immigration policy and its impact on the higher educational system, as well as the shifting market for higher education. Discover how to move past the false dichotomy between choosing skills-based learning or higher education, and the systemic change that is needed to stay competitive.

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Photo of Dr. James Applegate

Dr. James Applegate has conducted hundreds of presentations before international, national, and regional groups to advance investment in higher education, partnerships with higher education, and strengthen commitment to student success, fairness, and more efficient and effective strategies to fulfill its mission to provide opportunity and drive economic well-being. In 2014-2016, for example, Dr. Applegate provided plenary presentations to events sponsored by the American Council on Education, Education Commission of the States, President’s Forum, Educational Testing Service and the National Urban League, Stanford University, Midwest Higher Education Compact, NACADA, many state-wide conferences, and others addressing policy and practice changes needed in higher education.

You can follow Dr. Applegate on LinkedIn, Google, and YouTube.


Full Transcript of this episode:

Announcer:      00:02   Welcome to Talent Talks. Each month, human resources veteran, Rick Maher, welcomes America's thought leaders to discuss ways to reinvent America's talent development and education systems. Tune in and discover how we can drive global competitiveness for future generations.

Announcer:      00:19   Talent Talks is presented by Maher & Maher and IMPAQ International who together are delivering research and evidence-based solutions to workforce challenges. And now your host, Rick Maher.

Rick Maher:     00:34   Welcome to Talent Talks, the podcast that examines how we might reinvent America's talent development and education systems to drive economic competitiveness for future generations.

Rick Maher:     00:46   Today's guest is Dr. James Applegate. Dr. Applegate has spent his career in higher education and philanthropy developing policies and practices to dramatically increase college success especially for underserved groups. He currently is a visiting university professor in the Center for Education Policy at Illinois State University and an international consultant on higher education. He previously served as the executive director for the Illinois Board of Higher Education and is frequently a presenter at national conferences focused on higher education and its role in America's future economic security.

Rick Maher:     01:27   I know Jim from most recently our work in Illinois rolling our sector-based workforce development and trying to focus on forming regional partnerships that got employers, workforce development, and educators to build talent supply chains for growing industry sectors. I've always been impressed by his unique and thorough knowledge of higher ed and his passion for its value but also, I see Jim as willing to push people out of the status quo, to explore reforms, and to make our educational system more relevant, more nimble, more responsive to the realities of today's more competitive global environment.

Rick Maher:     02:06   So Jim, I'm just thrilled to have you join us here today. Thanks so much for investing the time with Talent Talks.

James Applegate:        02:12   Thanks for having me. I look forward to the conversation.

Rick Maher:     02:16   I know it's going to be a great one and benefit our listeners. So, I'm going to squeeze every minute out of you today, Jim, so let's just dive right in. I was looking just recently at McKenzie's blog and they wrote one talking about the so-called fourth industrial revolution and it's having the capacity to disrupt the job market with tech innovations like AI, machine learning, 3D printing. And McKenzie talks about the potential to literally cause by 2030 almost 350 million workers globally to need to be reskilled in order to remain employable. And I know whether you've read that blog, you're very familiar with this because I've talked to you about it. I'd love to hear you opine for a minute. How might such a potential future shape our educational system? Jim, what will the future of America's educational system look like and why should we care about this so-called fourth industrial revolution?

James Applegate:        03:19   Yes, I've seen the McKenzie work and they talk about $14 trillion worth of jobs being either radically transformed or eliminated through the revolution you're talking about. I think it reinforces the argument that I've tried to make for years that the higher education system in the United States must be, or at least should be, the workforce development system of the future. We've had a fairly fragmented system of workforce development, the Department of Labor funds lot of programs. The Department of Education at a federal level does work that deals with higher ed. And a lot of that workforce money has been spent on programs that did not provide the kind of credentials and degrees that students needed to give them long term success.

James Applegate:        04:06   The Georgetown University Center for Education in the Workforce which does a lot of brilliant work on this topic that we're discussing today points out that at least two thirds of the new and replacement jobs going forward are going to require a high-quality college credential. And the transformations that you're talking about, and McKenzie's talking about, they're not tweaks. They're not like going back and taking a two-week update course. These are going to require people ... I always use welding as an example and you and I talked about this before. When I was executive director in Illinois, working with the Illinois Department of Employment Security to connect our higher ed and workforce data and working with some of the regional collaboratives that you mentioned that you were working with, I heard over and over again, "We need more welders."

James Applegate:        04:50   And most people had in their mind the traditional welder with sparks flying and hot welds. And I went to several regional meetings and talked to some major employers of people who do welding. And they said to me, "Look, first of all, almost all of our welding is done by computers now. So, we need people certainly who understand welding but who also can work with computers, know how to work with code, because that's what we're doing." And then, they went on to say, and I actually had to google this to learn about it, but they said that within five to 10 years, we're going to be moving away from this traditional sense of what a weld is to something called adhesive manufacturing. And through the magic of modern chemistry, we'll be creating adhesives that are much more powerful and climate resistant, which is important, given what's happening to the climate right now, than any hot weld.

James Applegate:        05:40   So the folks who are already out there in the business are going to have to transform and become adhesive manufacturing people, not so much welding people. That's not a two-week tweaking course. That is a transformation in the nature of the work that you're doing. And I think we're going to see that, what the McKenzie report suggests to us, is we're going to see that globally and we're going to see that across sectors.

James Applegate:        06:03   And so, I think already in the United States, I think some additional attention is being paid to what we call the adult learner. We know that in most states, anywhere from a fifth to a quarter of the workforce went to college and didn't finish. So, there's been a lot of foundations, certainly, when I was at Lumina, are paying attention to that population. You have another quarter of the population about usually in most states with only a high school diploma. So, there's already that massive adult learner market. But now we're talking about an even equally large market out there that you've just described that may even have a college credential degree that's going to have to be able to come back in a way where we can accept them, give them credit for what they already know, and help them move forward to other kinds of credentials and degrees that are going to make them able to work in the kind of transformed workforce.

James Applegate:        06:56   And I think it's going to be really important for higher education to think ahead. The 20 or 30 days that McKenzie gave is interesting in that it aligns with many studies knocking on the college door and others that have been done projecting what's going to happen demographically to the traditional high school age population that we've been used to recruiting in higher education. And what you see in the 2020s and into 2030 is that the numbers particularly in certain regions of the country, like the Midwest which is pretty dense with higher education institutions, and the Northeast. That population's numbers are going to drop off a cliff.

James Applegate:        07:39   So it's not just a matter of what the workforce needs and what the country needs to be globally competitive, it's a matter in many cases, for many types of higher education institutions of survival. They better start thinking about how to attend to this new massive market because the market they've been used to serving is shrinking. Now that doesn't mean you're not going to still try to recruit high school graduates, but you better be opening up your doors and delivering your programs in ways that open up to this new market.

Rick Maher:     08:07   So the student, the customer, is going to change. The profile of that 18-year-old, four-year degree seeker is not necessarily what we're dealing with in the future. And that prompts me, Jim, because in the work that I mentioned that we have worked together in that project in Illinois, we were bringing educators and workforce development people with employers together, and I know that you've been involved in that kind of work around the country as I have. And from my perspective, I'll call myself a commoner. I'm not an expert in higher education. But listening to employers, I increasingly hear them say things like you know, we don't really care whether they've got a bachelors, an associates, we just want them to know these skills. We want them to have the skills we need. And those skills are changing rapidly. And there's this emphasis on employer-driven curricula.

Rick Maher:     09:04   And I know when I talk to folks in education, there's sometimes a resistance to that language, Jim. And we've talked about this. Because they're feeling like wait a minute, we're a liberal arts education institution. When you talk about employers defining the curricula for us, it sounds like a training, a workforce development program. I mean, how can you speak to that tension that exists between being employer-led, nimble, responsive to a different customer, to a different economy, and yet, maintaining the rigorous standards. Are we still in a seat-based curriculum future or do we need to really break that mold?

James Applegate:        09:52   You embedded a lot of issues in there.

Rick Maher:     09:54   Sorry. It's only because I know you can handle it, Jim.

James Applegate:        09:58   I think I'll tease them out.

Rick Maher:     10:00   Okay.

James Applegate:        10:01   First of all, I think when you talk about these ... I'm a big believer in these regional partnerships between employers, universities, K-12 schools, nonprofits who work with underserved communities, mayors of cities. And I think what I've seen in those kinds of initiatives when they're done correctly is we get beyond Republican/Democrat false idea, a false contradictions. One of my friends here, Michael Barber, who led a lot of the education reforms at Cleveland and Tony Blair's time has often said that the path to education hell is paved with false dichotomies. And I think one of those is between a solid liberal education and career preparation. And I just spoke at a liberal arts college actually about a week ago talking about this.

James Applegate:        10:47   And it is the case that in many of these transformations that we talked about earlier, it really is going to demand capacities needed by a thinking adult, analytical skills, effective communication, practical intelligence, ethical judgment, social responsibility. Norman Augustine who was the former chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin talked about the need for more graduates with science and engineering and STEM and all that. But he also said though very importantly, that's only the beginning. This is a quote from him, "One cannot live by equations alone. The need is increasing for workers with greater foreign language skills and expanded knowledge of economics, history, and geography. And who wants a technology-driven economy when those who drive it are not grounded in fields such as ethics?" And I think we've seen the outcome of some of that recently somewhat in the national news with the controversies over Facebook and privacy and data, et cetera.

James Applegate:        11:46   So I think now ... If it's a true partnership between employers and universities, a partnership means each side contributes and each side respects the perspective of the other. So, on the one hand, and what I said to the liberal arts faculty I spoke to last week, we have to throw open the doors and windows of liberal education and not be defensive about it. But we have to do a better job as those who deliver that education to help our students and our consumers of our students understand the relevance, not just the ...

Rick Maher:     12:20   And the value of it.

James Applegate:        12:21   ... and the value. And we have to believe that, and we have to teach that to our students. There's nothing ... You're not polluting the holy water if you talk about how the things they're learning are relevant to particular career paths. On the other side, I think you and I have worked in this space long enough to know that employers don't always know what they need.

Rick Maher:     12:42   Exactly. Right, they need to be educated. And that's our role, right?

James Applegate:        12:47   And they can learn from faculty in institutes of higher education. So, when I talk, sometimes I work with big corporations and what you hear from the C-suite is a lot like what the CEO said. But then, when you go down to HR folks, they haven't gotten the message yet.

Rick Maher:     13:08   Right.

James Applegate:        13:08   So there's even conflict within the organization. So, I think we have to help everyone understand. Our students, the faculty who teach, and employers who are hiring our people, the value of these core fundamental skills. Now that doesn't mean you don't learn engineering and you don't learn nursing and there are places like that. But you know, in engineering, I'll just say this really quickly. I used to always smile at my engineering college, whom I love, very pragmatic people, because on the one hand, they would tell me that in engineering in three to five years, half of what the students learn in college will be outdated. And then, on the next day, they would tell me they need to increase the engineering curriculum from 130 to 140 hours rather than 120 because they absolutely had to have those additional courses to cram that information into those students. And I was like but wait a minute, you told me half of it is irrelevant. What should you really be teaching your engineering students? And it may not be focused on specific content all the time.

James Applegate:        14:09   So I think it's got to be a true partnership which means every partner learns from the other partner and develop a curricula that are competency-based because we need ... If we say liberal outcomes, liberal education outcomes, do we know that students are achieving those? And if we're not focusing on the competencies and assessing to make sure, how do we slap ... This may not be the right terminology, but how do we slap a warranty on our graduates to say they are thinking adults with analytical skills, and they can communicate, and they have practical intelligence, and they have ethical judgment, and they have a sense of social responsibility.

James Applegate:        14:50   So we have to work together because it's in the interest of those students that they do have all of that, so they'll be prepared for these revolutionary changes that we were just talking about in the first part of the conversation.

Rick Maher:     15:02   Yeah, and I love it, Jim. It just makes sense. Too often in the field we hear it's either what employers want or it's the classic liberal arts institution. And what I'm hearing you saying is no guys, it's actually a combination of both and we need to sit down and listen.

James Applegate:        15:20   Not to quote a business guy, but he was a pretty smart guy, Jim Collins talked about the genius of the “and”, and the fact that instead of saying it's giving access to underserved students or quality, or it's liberal education or careers, let's embrace the genius of the “and”, and figure out what it looks like. Another talent market that's going to have to be tapped better than we've been tapping, I'll just throw this in this point, and it includes adults but when you realize that only 10% of low or PELL income 24-year olds in the United States, according to the PELL Institute in its latest report, 10% have a four-year college degree. We miss 90% of them. That's another market.

Rick Maher:     16:04   Right.

James Applegate:        16:04   So they may be traditional students, but we're not reaching them.

Announcer:      16:08   You're listening to Talent Talks presented by Maher & Maher and IMPAQ International who together provide research and evidence-based solutions integral to planning, developing, and managing America's workforce development system. For more information on what is being done to position America's workers, employers, and communities for future prosperity, sign up for our newsletter at mahernet.com/talenttalks. That's M-A-H-E-R-N-E-T.com/talenttalks.

James Applegate:        16:40   When I show those inequities, those charts, those bars that show the disparities between low income African American/Hispanic adult students who's getting degrees and who's not. And they look at all of that white space above the short bars under those groups as opposed to the majority group, they circle that white space and say that's our talent pool of the future.

Rick Maher:     17:05   Right.

James Applegate:        17:06   We've got to have those people to stay in business, to be competitive. And you know, this is not a US phenomenon. I mean, recent reports ...

Rick Maher:     17:15   Absolutely not.

James Applegate:        17:15   ... called the college ... There was a recent report of college grads earnings globally from OECD and the college bonus actually, in the United States, it is huge, but it's lower than the college bonus in Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. So, we are really in a global talent war here and if we don't step up and figure out how to become the workforce development system in the full way that we've been talking about it, we're not talking about just teaching people to make widgets.

Rick Maher:     17:49   Right.

James Applegate:        17:50   If we don't step up, it will be bad for higher education. We will not access that market. And competitors who are coming into do that work and there's a growing number of competitors, General Assembly, Hack Reactor, Coursera, the Flat Iron School, Minerva, they're going to eat our lunch in higher education.

Rick Maher:     18:10   Let's talk about that. I want to talk to you about that because we've talked about the fact that it's not just job training or liberal arts. It needs to be a combination and that maybe it needs to be competency-based, not just seat time based. And now, you've just raised the specter of these new, I'm going to call them potentially disruptive competitors entering the fray. The moot providers, the Courseras, the You to Me's of the world. And that always makes me mindful of the new nano-degrees. And I wonder if you could just talk to me first for the benefit of our listeners, if you could do just a quick description for those that don't know what a nano-degree is, Jim. And then, tell me what role that plays.

Rick Maher:     19:01   I mean, to me, again, not an expert in higher education. To me, that's a knock on the door saying guys, you need to be willing to break the mold and be innovative because other people are entering the fray here and they have the prospect to be the Uber to education, at least that's my perspective. Am I right or wrong?

James Applegate:        19:22   I think it could be on. I think it would be unfortunate if that was the case because for the reasons we just discussed. Now I'm a big believer in the value of nano- degrees, call them short term credentials. These are the community colleges offer some of those. The universities offer some of those. And certainly, as you mentioned, many new startups are offering those. They're very skill-based. They're usually much shorter term than even an associate degree. But let me put it this way, I think ... We talked about the nature of the radical transformations that are occurring in the workplace. So, I'm all for offering those. I think in many cases ... But we need to integrate those into the larger picture of education that we were just talking about.

James Applegate:        20:08   There are universities that are doing this. Western Governors University, a nonprofit based national university is one of those. And they didn't pay me to make that plug but I do like the way they do their work. Basically, what you do there is you lay out the path to a degree and the learning outcomes that should be accomplished, knowing how those are integrated into the curriculum, particular courses, et cetera, on that path, the learning ladder, if you would. And then, you crosswalk that with many of these credentials and certificates that are currently highly valued by the employers, and you should know that if you're tracking your students and assessing them well, that by the second semester of their sophomore year, for example, they should have learned what it would take to pass the X-certification in the IT field. Of the Y short term credential in the health field. You build that into the curriculum so when they graduate with their full degree, with all of the core skills that we just discussed, they also have with them the most of the known valued certifications and certificates that fairly show particular skills.

James Applegate:        21:22   Now let me tell you that if your son or daughter has that, they have the degree, and then they have those certifications, boy, today unfortunately, because that's so rare to do, they've got a huge leg up on their competitors that graduated in that particular area.

Rick Maher:     21:36   I completely agree. And you know, laddering ...

James Applegate:        21:39   What I've often said is we can't let these shorter-term things, I call them, become what I call educational cul-de-sacs. That is, we send certain people off into these short-term programs and that's all they can ever hope for.

Rick Maher:     21:54   We're in danger of getting there. You're right, Jim.

James Applegate:        21:57   Yeah.

Rick Maher:     21:57   And I love the way you describe it as the ladder because it seems to me, again, some of these kids are ... and even, let's say, working adults due to barriers that they have. They have children at home. They need a paycheck. The ability to earn a credential while they're working on the longer-term advanced degree gives them the satisfaction of having achieved some form of success. And it seems to me even improve completion rates if we can find a way to ladder things in that way. Does that make sense?

James Applegate:        22:33   Absolutely. And you know, the Georgetown Center I mentioned earlier just released a report that showed 20% of full-time students in America higher education are full time employed.

Rick Maher:     22:44   Yep.

James Applegate:        22:45   So I think that's pretty striking. And there's even greater percentages working part-time, et cetera. Now that's adults but obviously, it's also a lot of traditional students because of the cost of college. So, we have to figure out a way to help people climb that ladder while they're doing other things. And I think, again, the idea that if we don't make this part of a ladder or pathway or whatever word and we create all these little short term cul-de-sacs for certain groups of people and Rick, frankly what worries me when I see the people, when I listen to governors and legislators and others across the space talking about these kinds of short term programs only or apprenticeships, which I like too, the students that they are pointing to who should be doing this have a strikingly common income level and a strikingly common color in their skin.

Rick Maher:     23:38   Yeah, we pigeonhole people.

James Applegate:        23:39   I think we have to be careful to say for certain students, this is the best they can hope for. For my son and daughter, it's the four year or maybe even the graduate degree. That's what I mean by integrating those. It's almost like they become, what do you call those in business, it's not a loss leader but where you ... You can get them in and they can get short term successes and then, I'll talk with veterans who went to the military because they didn't think college was for them or they were told it wasn't for them. And then, they went to the military, they took some courses online ... The military is one of the largest providers of online higher education. And they realized that they could do it. And they came back, and they got started and they had those short-term successes and they moved right along. I just talked to one about a year ago. They're now pursuing their master’s degree and they didn't think ... They went to the military because they didn't think they were capable of or at least college wasn't for them. And I think they figure it out, they grow up while they're ... and they come back. And we've got to be ready to receive them and all those adults we're talking about. It's not just an economic obligation, economic development obligation. To me, it's almost a moral obligation

Rick Maher:     24:53   It's a moral obligation, Jim. And I love your message of integrating and I agree with you. Policymakers, governors, bureaucrats. The system is so complex and the challenge, it seems to wide, that maybe we have a tendency to oversimplify and pick one or the other. And I think the idea of pathways that enable people to learn, earn while they learn, and to ladder accomplishment in shorter bites, makes sense in a world of lifelong learning.

Rick Maher:     25:28   And by the way, and without mentioning plugs, I just want to say, you mentioned apprenticeship, you know, IMPAQ has a contract with the Department of Labor to support the new industry recognized apprenticeship work and I know from that that one of the labor secretary's earnest desires is to see apprenticeship programs laddered into four year degrees. So, there are some people, Jim, that are getting your message.

Rick Maher:     25:58   And I know, we've got a problem with time and I could talk to you all day, but I did not want to end this discussion until and unless we had just a moment to reflect on a slightly different, but I think a very important topic and that's this subject of immigration. And I don't want to touch on any political third rails here but without getting into the politics we can say that there is a lot of policy discussion on limiting immigration and of course, the desire here is to make sure that we protect American workers. But I am also aware in part from our earlier conversations over the years of the unique positioning of the higher education system in the US as really the world's educator and we take a lot of immigrant students into the United States and at least we have historically and the emerging policies in immigration have a potential to disrupt that, I think.

Rick Maher:     27:03   And I know that you're a student of this and I just wanted to get you to opine for a minute or two, Jim, about the data I know you're so fond of. What is the impact of the student immigrant, if you will, not just on the higher educational system in the US but maybe more broadly on the US economy today and in the future? Can you speak to that for just a few minutes?

James Applegate:        27:30   Sure. And again, I like to frame this ... To me, this is not a right/left, Republican/Democrat issue. This is a talent war issue. Who's going to win the talent war? I mentioned the global bonus across countries and countries around the world are working hard to, on their end, to keep their talented people. But we have always been an enormous, number one magnet for international talent. If you look, the New York Times just recently reported that 30-40% of the Fortune 400 companies were founded by the children of immigrants. Those companies today between them generate over $19 trillion in economic activities and employ millions and millions of people.

James Applegate:        28:14   The US has won more Nobel Prizes than any country. Well, last year, all of the Nobel Prizes the US won, except Bob Dylan, and he didn't show up, but all the Nobel Prizes were won by US immigrants.

Rick Maher:     28:27   Wow.

James Applegate:        28:28   And so, the idea that we would cut off that flow of talent. And this year, in the first time in forever, the number of international students coming to the US dropped. It went down. And it's causing revenue problems and other issues for higher ed institutions around the country. But I talked to an executive a couple of years ago from one of the big tech companies. And they said ... He was not just talking about what's happening now. And I do think the messages we're sending abroad are now particularly damaging. I also work with some universities in Canada. They're doing great. And their message pretty much to all these talented people from Latin America and China and India and Europe is very simple. They promote the programs, but they say you're welcome and you're safe.

Rick Maher:     29:17   Right.

James Applegate:        29:18   And it's working. And Canada has already exceeded the percentage of international students in their higher ed system that they set as the goal for 2020. So, to cut this off, to cut this talent off ... Now we need to rethink, the immigration system has been broken prior to the current administration.

Rick Maher:     29:37   Right, of course.

James Applegate:        29:39   I'll share this quick story from this high-level executive. Of course, the tech leaders are particularly ... They're just irate about our immigration policy but he said look. He said the way our immigration policy works is it's like if I were to create an internship program that was the smartest, based on everything I knew, all the secrets I learned, everything I've accumulated over the years, that internship program, high quality, would be like our universities. And then, invited all of my competitors’ employees to come and participate in my internship program with one requirement. That they have to go back and work for my competitors when it's all over. He said does that sound like winning business model to you? And that's what we've been doing.

James Applegate:        30:22   And so, higher education, one that creates value for us is putting us in a privileged position to win this great talent. I hate to put it in war terms but this global talent battle.

Rick Maher:     30:34   It is a talent war, yeah.

James Applegate:        30:34   And why we would cut ourselves off at the ankles in doing that is beyond me. It is ... You don't have to be Republican or Democrat, right or left, just be ... care for the best interest of the economy of the United States.

James Applegate:        30:51   And Rick, if I could just one quick note to add at the end here, all the changes we're talking about in the higher ed system, in the way we do partnership, this is not easy work. And one of my favorite books I've read in the last several years is the book by Steven Johnson called Picture Perfect. The book is actually about how we can use new technologies to inform progressive efforts. But he makes ... He talks about how we have entered this phase where we think change happens based on heroes and miracles. Martin Luther King calls the Civil Rights Movement and he uses the example of the miracle on the Hudson, which I'm assume most of your listeners will be familiar with. They probably saw Tom Hanks in the movie, the plane, the pilot that landed and everybody survived.

James Applegate:        31:40   Well, it turns out years ago when public aviation was not nearly as safe as it is now, a large group of people in the industry, engineers, designers, others, looked at the data, and believe me, this is me say you need to look at the data and be honest about your failings. These were hard data to look at because they involve a lot of people dying. And they say what's happening here. And they identified a number of things that needed to change in aircraft redesign. Two, very quickly, were one, engines needed to be less likely to blow apart or catch fire. They were too fragile. And two, the guidance systems, the way the wires were laid out in the plane, it was laid out in a way that made them very vulnerable to being knocked out.

James Applegate:        32:29   So they changed that. So, if you go and watch the movie, first of all, notice that when the birds hit the engines on that plane, they don't shatter and rip the plane apart. They don't really even catch fire that much. Not to take anything away from Captain Sully and the crew, but the real reason those people are alive is because of work that was done over multiple years by thousands of people in the aeronautics industry, engineers, designers, et cetera, who looked at the brutal facts, and they were brutal, about what was happening in crashes and identified things that needed to be changed including a more stable engine that didn't catch fire and fall apart and tear up the plane, and a guidance system that was less vulnerable where the wires were laid out and being knocked out. And they did that over years, thousands of people worked to do all the redesign.

James Applegate:        33:21   And as a result, when you watch the movie, when you see the birds hit the engines, you'll see that they don't catch fire really in any bad way and they don't fall apart. And also, watch as Tom Hanks is landing the plane and you'll see that his guidance system that shows him whether he's flat, his wings are level or not, is working all the way to the water. And if that had gone out, it's almost impossible for a pilot to keep a plane at that level of correct flatness, if you would, and people would have died.

James Applegate:        33:55   So my point here is, is that heroes and miracles are not the avenue to change, historically, and for higher education to change in the way we're talking about will require lots of people ... employers, higher ed folks, faculty ... coming together over a period of time, and it won't be a year. It will be longer, to really transform the higher education system to truly become the workforce development system of the 21st century.

Rick Maher:     34:24   I've got to tell you, Jim, I could talk to you all day. Unfortunately, I promised you I wouldn't. If folks that are listening today want to connect to you, follow you, learn more about your work, how would they best connect to you and to get more information about your thought leadership?

James Applegate:        34:44   A lot of the blogs and videos that I've done on these various topics are available at the site of the Illinois Center for the Study of Education Policy. I also post them if you find me on LinkedIn. And if you go to YouTube, you'll find a collection of my speeches that are there on YouTube as well. And again, what I've tried to do is really focus on this issue, as you've noted, one of the most important ones higher ed faces, improving our service to the underserved. And also, this international issue and the importance of international talent. So anyway, it would be the Center for the Study of Education Policy site where they list a lot of my videos and blogs and also LinkedIn. And then, if you go to YouTube and google me, you'll find a collection of my speeches.

Rick Maher:     35:34   Awesome. Thanks so much, James. I have a feeling there will be a few more fans following you on LinkedIn. This has been a great conversation and one that I know is going to be thought provoking for our listeners. And again, thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today.

Rick Maher:     35:50   To our listeners, I look forward to seeing you again next month when we'll bring another national thought leader to the table to help us examine how data and evidence can drive innovation and America's talent development system. Until then, have a great day.

Announcer:      36:06   Thank you for listening to Talent Talks presented by Maher & Maher and IMPAQ International. For more information on what is being done to position America's workers, employers, and communities for future prosperity, sign up for our newsletter at mahernet.com/talenttalks. That's M-A-H-E-R-N-E-T.com/talenttalks.


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