• xTalks: Digital Discourses

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Tom Kochan – A Conversation with the Next Generation: A New Social Compact

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What can the next generation of Americans do to reverse the declining standards of living they are inheriting from the baby boomers who benefited from the Golden Era of the American economy following WW II?  
This talk will lay out the challenges and opportunities facing young Americans, with a particular emphasis on education and recent innovations the enable widespread lifelong learning. From pre-school to life-long-learning programs, all institutions of learning need to be active contributors to a new social contact.  This includes providing affordable early childhood outreach educational opportunities, working collaboratively to reform elementary and secondary schools, building alliances with employers and labor groups to enhance professional development and lifelong learning, and transforming professional schools to ensure the next generation of leaders has the skills to build and sustain a social compact for the future. We will also discuss what is needed from leaders of other institutions – business, government, and labor – to support efforts to build and sustain a new social compact.
Kochan is the George Maverick Bunker Professor of Management, Professor of Work and Employment Research and Engineering Systems, and Co-Director, MIT Sloan Institute for Work and Employment Research. His most recent book is entitled, Restoring the American Dream: A Working Families' Agenda for America (MIT Press, September 2005).