Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Connecting Students to the Future Economy …

Action Greensboro, Guilford Education Alliance and Guilford County Schools convened the Excelling in Public Education Task Force Teams on June 10, 2010.
The Task Force Study group’s objective is to help identify specific program initiatives in coordination with Guilford County Schools and the larger community in five identified areas. These areas are:

• Literacy and School Readiness
• Connecting Students to the Future Economy
• Parent University
• School and Leadership Development
• Character and Education

The graphic above shows the Task Force Study Group members actively involved during the first meeting at Weaver Foundation in Greensboro, NC.

The Study Teams and Focus Chart identifies the various Study Groups and associated Team members and Focus.

This blog will address thoughts of the author for the “Connecting Students to the Future Economy” with emphasis on Pre-college Innovative Engines (PIE) in our Schools based on concepts presented in my various blogs

For this discussion I will concentrate on the “six hat team” based on the diagram to the right. The five Innovative Engine hats are as follows:

• Business (Entrepreneur) Hat
• Customer (Marketplace) Hat
• Technology (Manufacturing/Service) Hat
• Engineer (Development) Hat
• Scientist (Research) Hat

These Innovative Engines are connected by the sixth Logistics (Supply Chain) Hat. This six hat team should be planted in our schools to start the thinking and product development that is needed to connect to the future economy. This would bring application to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) academic subjects by giving the student team challenges to think like a business enterprise in creating products and solutions to real life problems. Our future economy desperately needs this type of thinking and capability to build a workforce that is ready for “anything” for the 21st century.

When the IEEE Central NC Section conducted an “Engineers in the Class Room” session in one of the local fifth grade AIG classes, the concept of six hat teams was introduced to give the students a feel of how a product was created and marketed. It gave relevance to the product research, development, production, distribution and marketing process. These fifth graders really got it! The Entrepreneur Hats blog discusses this.

More information on this concept is discussed in various entries of my blog and at

A very successful initative to bring real life Engineering understanding has been conducted in the Guilford County Schools Middle Colleges and some High Schools. The Lunch & Learn and Classroom Connections format have been well received.  Although the content was primarily Engineering, some of the Middle Colleges are thinking about expanding it for other career topics.
This program is documented at:

A number of resources are available at  A couple related to the 20th century's greatest Achievements and the 21st century's greatest Challenges are applicable to thinking about connecting students to the future economy.  A regional 2010 summit was held in Raleigh; more information is available at

Hopefully the above experience and thinking will be helpful to the Task Force Study Group "Connecting Students to Future Economy."

I welcome suggestions on ways we can implement ideas presented in this blog.

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