Collaborative Solutions to Systemic Challenges: How to Build a Better Future for our Students

Joel Brennan, President of the Greater Milwaukee Committee

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Building a better future for our students is going to take the combined efforts of educators, employers and community leaders. The Greater Milwaukee Committee is on a mission to do just that, bringing together the most influential leaders and organizations in Milwaukee to solve some of the toughest challenges facing the city.

Joel Brennan leads the organization and joined us in the studio to talk about the role of public-private partnerships between educational institutions and businesses to address the evolving needs of the workforce.

The challenges faced by Milwaukee's education system (public, private and charter) are not unique. Communities across the U.S. can learn from the work of the GMC and their partners.

In this episode, we address:

  • The role of public-private partnerships in advancing educational initiatives and workforce development
  • Strategies for enhancing collaboration between educational institutions and businesses to meet the evolving needs of the workforce
  • The importance of supporting the Milwaukee school system and investing in the future of young people
  • Innovative approaches to education, including microcredentials and tailored curriculum development
  • The imperative of fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability to thrive in the era of AI and technological disruption

Quotable Moments:

"We have a responsibility of what we leave behind, that there's opportunity for [our young people]."

"[Milwaukee's] relationship with water, from the lakefront to the rivers, reflects our deep-rooted tradition of ingenuity and community-driven revitalization."

"The biggest issue around where we're going with workforce... is things are changing so dramatically with AI and how that's going to change the workplace, that we have to do what Wayne Gretzky used to talk about, you know, skate to where the puck is going, not where it is right now."

"We need to be preparing people for careers, but ultimately we want them to be deep thinkers, critical thinkers, problem solvers, because there's plenty of those things that are out here that we need to solve."

3 Big Takeaways from this episode:

  1. Regional collaboration enhances workforce readiness: The Higher Education Regional Alliance in Wisconsin facilitates cross-sector partnerships to align education with industry needs, ensuring graduates are equipped for the job market. By fostering regular dialogue among leaders of educational institutions and businesses, the alliance drives targeted initiatives to enhance access, accomplishment, and business connectivity.
  2. K-12 education faces systemic challenges, but we owe it to students to solve these problems for the betterment of their future: It's going to take comprehensive reforms and investing in early childhood education to improve outcomes and workforce readiness. By prioritizing equitable access to quality education and fostering innovation in teaching methods, communities can address these challenges and ensure all students have the opportunity to succeed.
  3. Public-private partnerships drive education reform: Through initiatives like workforce training programs, communities leverage combined resources to revitalize education systems, bridging gaps between classroom learning and real-world job requirements, ultimately strengthening local economies. By uniting public and private stakeholders, these partnerships create a symbiotic relationship, enhancing education quality while meeting workforce demands.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Connect with the Greater Milwaukee Committee:

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