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Empowering Women, One SMS at a Time

Jason KohnBy Jason Kohn, Contributing Columnist.

What’s the best way to accelerate economic development in the developing world? One answer is to do more to empower women. According to a 2012 World Bank report, women now make up 40 percent of the global labor force, but face major gaps in education, access to technology and economic opportunity compared to men. World Bank analysts estimate that closing those gaps could make a big difference, increasing labor productivity by as much as 25 percent in some countries.

There are many strategies for empowering women in developing countries, but one of the most practical is to provide more access to education, especially for women business-owners. Educational content provider ChangeCorp is dedicated to doing just that by capitalizing on growing access to mobile phones. I spoke with ChangeCorp’s CEO, Louise M. Guido, about some of the company’s efforts. Read More »

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State of the Union Challenge: Teaching Skills that Lead to Jobs

As I listened to the State of the Union speech on Tuesday evening, my ears perked up when I heard these words “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job”. While I agree that this is” inexcusable”, I couldn’t help but feel gratified that President Obama called attention to our deficiency in 21st century skills-based education.

Although unemployment continues to be a challenge in this country, the demand for technology specialists is on the rise. Projected to grow by 10, 20 and in some cases 50 percent in coming years, jobs like Computer Support Specialist, Analysts and Systems Administrators are in high demand. Read More »

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Jobs vs Skills: a conundrum based on myth?

The Economist held its annual conference on Human Potential last week in NYC. It could just as well have been named: ‘Job Acquisition vs. Job Skills: the Great Mis-match of our Generation,’ echoing the title of their special report by Matthew Bishop. For two days, panelists and speakers discussed this dilemma: “The abundance of jobs and the shortage of skilled workers.” Yes, I did say, abundance of jobs. Education took center stage of this conundrum many times, only to be quickly ignored because of the complexity of the solution. Like the Medusa with her head of many snakes, each education challenge begets a new challenge, which, in turn, becomes so intertwined that we run from it, screaming for relief. Read More »

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