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America Needs Talent

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In August, the Northwest Indiana Forum and Center of Workforce Innovations hosted a special workforce-oriented event featuring author Jamie Merisotis.

Merisotis, who serves as president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, recently published his book “America Needs Talent,” which discusses both the importance of and policy strategies that focus on developing the talent for the jobs of both today and tomorrow.

“Talent,” said Merisotis, “is not innate. It is what happens when knowledge, skills and abilities are honed by experience and education.”

The event brought together nearly 100 people including community leaders, political representatives, NIPSCO and economic development directors as well as local business leaders, united in preparing Northwest Indiana to meet the economic needs of the future.

Merisotis laid out his five step approach to reimagining the way we develop talent, and pointed out that of all the jobs created since the end of the recent recession, the majority of them require education beyond high school, whether college or certification in specific skills and trades.

In brief, the five steps Merisotis advocates are:

  1. Rethink and reimagine higher education – we need a student-centric approach
  2. Unleash private sector innovation
  3. Consolidate and repurpose the federal role in talent development – combine other departments into a unified “Department of Talent”
  4. Reimagine Immigration - The conversation should be no who we stop from entering, but who do we want to come in?
  5. Recognize and treat cities as talent hubs

Putting these approaches into play can lead to a “2nd American Century,” Merisotis says. Locally, his message is clear: we need to spread the word that talent development is an urgent problem. “The message needs to get to the people,” he said, who can organize and promote the kind of lasting change that will bring about the kind of prosperity America is capable of, if we properly prepare our talent.

Jamie Merisotis, Author, President and CEO

Lumina Foundation

America Needs Talent