NAWB report: "Two Million Minutes" sounds workforce development alarm

The end result of workforce development efforts - whether through traditional processes, such as primary and secondary schools, or through less traditional approaches, such as workforce development organizations or community/technical colleges - is to empower individuals to be successful and productive citizens.

But in today's world, the comparison isn't just to our fellow Americans. Today's citizens must be successful relative to a standard which includes those in China and India.

For those trapped in the post-WWII worldview, where the United States alone was spared the devastation that swept the world: Europe and much of the Pacific basin was in ruins. The British empire, considered to be the most-likely second power of the post-war era, staggered in the post-war era and collapsed.

That era allowed the United States an opportunity to prosper and lead much of the world, which it did. However, in the sixty years since the war ended, the ruined nations of Asia and Europe recovered, inspired by our innovations and often able to grow thanks to our military umbrella. Now they're fully-developed nations who are competing with us ... and sometimes leading us.

The movie "2 Million Minutes", which was the subject of a panel discussion, was a documentary which examined the differences in our primary career development vehicle: the high school, compared to India and China. The differences presented in the comparisons which the video makes are striking - ones we fail to notice, much less question, and will play major roles in our ability to lead, much less compete, for the next two generations.

The write-up on the movie website represents key issues discussed in the movie:

Statistics for American high school students give rise to concern for our student's education in math and science. Less than 40 percent of U.S. students take a science course more rigorous than general biology, and a mere 18 percent take advanced classes in physics, chemistry or biology. Only 45 percent of U.S. students take math coursework beyond two years of algebra and one year of geometry. And 50 percent of all college freshmen require remedial coursework.

Meanwhile, both India and China have made dramatic leaps in educating their middle classes - each comparable in size to the entire U.S. population. Compared to the U.S., China now produces eight times more scientists and engineers, while India puts out up to three times as many as the U.S. Additionally, given the affordability of their wages, China and India are now preferred destinations for increasing numbers of multinational high-tech corporations.

Just as the Soviets' launch of a tiny satellite ignited a space race and impelled America to improve its science education, many experts feel the United States has reached its next "Sputnik moment." The goal of this film is to help answer the question: Are we doing enough with the time we have to ensure the best future for all?

For those who worry about where we're headed, it's something to watch.

1 Response to "NAWB report: "Two Million Minutes" sounds workforce development alarm"

  1. Anonymous 29/2/08 11:28
    how come you have to put up all this wordy stuff? why can't you just put up hooters and kissing girls like sic willie does?

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