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Dr. Christopher B. Howard became the eighth president of Robert Morris University in suburban Pittsburgh on February 1, 2016. A nationally ranked, doctoral granting institution, RMU enrolls approximately 5,000 students. Dr. Howard is a distinguished graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a B.S. in political science in 1991. A Rhodes Scholar, he earned his doctorate in politics at the University of Oxford and an M.B.A. with distinction from the Harvard Business School. He is a recipient of the NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, which recognizes distinguished individuals on the 25th anniversary of the conclusion of their college athletic careers. Dr. Howard has received the Armed Forces Merit Award from the Football Writers Association of America. He is a member of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics and a former member of the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. A retired Air Force reserve lieutenant colonel, Dr. Howard served as a helicopter pilot and then became an intelligence officer for the elite Joint Special Operations Command. Defense Secretary William Cohen asked Dr. Howard to accompany a 1999 U.S. delegation to South Africa as a political-military advisor. He was called back to active duty during 2003 in Afghanistan and was awarded the Bronze Star. Dr. Howard also served as the Reserve Air Attaché to Liberia. Prior to his appointment as president of RMU, Dr. Howard for six years was the president of Hampden- Sydney College, near Richmond, Va. During Dr. Howard’s tenure as president, enrollment, retention, and alumni giving increased. Previously he served as vice president for leadership and strategic initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, where he also served as the director of the Honors College Leadership Center and a President’s Associates Presidential Professor. Dr. Howard enjoyed a successful career in the corporate world, working at General Electric and Bristol- Myers Squibb. At both companies, Dr. Howard’s responsibilities included sales, marketing, international project management, strategic planning, internal consulting, and business development. Dr. Howard is highly sought after as a speaker by the nation’s premiere higher education organizations, including the College Board, the Education Advisory Board, Ruffalo Noel Levitz, and the National Association of College and University Business Officers. He has been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed. Dr. Howard has taught seminars in the Harvard Graduate School of Education Management Development Program and spoken at the Arizona State University-Georgetown University Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership. Dr. Howard is married to Barbara Noble Howard from Johannesburg, South Africa. Barbara is a Temple University graduate, director of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, a member of the Virginia War Memorial Board of Directors, and a trustee of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The Howards have two sons, Cohen and Joshua.
Supporting Success in Online Learning
The Aspen Strategy Group hosted a discussion on Domestic and International (Dis)Order: A Strategic Response, the latest edition of the Aspen Strategy Group’s series of annual publications that address the most pressing foreign policy challenges facing the United States. This volume reflects the discussions that occurred during the 2020 Aspen Strategy Group Summer Workshop, a resolutely nonpartisan meeting of experts from the fields of government, academia, journalism, and business. Markle CEO and President Zoë Baird contributed the chapter below to this book. Panelists include: Zoë Baird, Nicholas Burns, Diana Farrell, Naima Green-Riley, Anja Manuel, Joseph Nye, and Tom Pritzker and Torrey Taussig. Equitable Economic Recovery Is a National Security Imperative by Zoë Baird A strong and inclusive economy is essential for American national security and global leadership. As the nation seeks to return from a historic economic crisis, the national security community should support an equitable recovery that helps every worker adapt to the seismic shifts underway in our economy. Broadly shared economic prosperity is a bedrock of America’s economic and political strength—both domestically and in the international arena. A strong and equitable recovery from the economic crisis created by COVID-19 would be a powerful testament to the resilience of the American system and its ability to create prosperity at a time of seismic change and persistent global crisis. Such a recovery could attack the profound economic inequities that have developed over the past several decades. Without bold action to help all workers access good jobs as the economy returns, the United States risks undermining the legitimacy of its institutions and its international standing. The outcome will be a key determinant of America’s national security for years to come. An equitable recovery requires a national commitment to help all workers obtain good jobs—particularly the two- thirds of adults without a bachelor’s degree and people of color who have been most affected by the crisis and were denied opportunity before it. As the nation engages in a historic debate about how to accelerate economic recovery, ambitious public investment is necessary to put Americans back to work with dignity and opportunity. We need an intentional effort to make sure that the jobs that come back are good jobs with decent wages, benefits, and mobility and to empower workers to access these opportunities in a profoundly changed labor market. To achieve these goals, American policy makers need to establish job growth strategies that address urgent public needs through major programs in green energy, infrastructure, and health. Alongside these job growth strategies, we need to recognize and develop the talents of workers by creating an adult learning system that meets workers’ needs and develops skills for the digital economy. The national security community must lend its support to this cause. And as it does so, it can bring home the lessons from the advances made in these areas in other countries, particularly our European allies, and consider this a realm of international cooperation and international engagement. Read the Full Chapter Here Read the Book Here
An Opportunity Account to Help All Workers Identify and Pay For Effective Training
Investing in High Quality Career Coaching
Panelists: Zoë Baird, CEO and President, Markle Foundation Raphael Bostic, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Liz Hilton Segel, Managing Partner, North America McKinsey & Company Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League Rework America Alliance: Empowering Workers to Recover Stronger Please join us for a virtual event hosted by the Rework America Alliance, a Markle Initiative as we share new insights into the impact of the pandemic on our workforce and the disproportionate effect this crisis is having on people of color and those without a formal post-secondary education. We will discuss - for the first time - how we are working together to meet the urgent needs of millions of workers who are facing an uncertain future in the current economic crisis. This event will feature a conversation with Zoë Baird, CEO and President of the Markle Foundation, Raphael Bostic, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Liz Hilton Segel, Managing Partner, North America, McKinsey & Company and Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. We will speak to why we have brought together a unique set of diverse organizations to form the Rework America Alliance and how our collaboration will work to create systemic change to help unemployed and low wage workers emerge from this crisis stronger.
Incentivizing Employers to Hire and Train for Quality Jobs
Investing in Workers to Drive a Stronger Economic Recovery for All
The Rework America Alliance is an unprecedented nationwide collaboration to enable unemployed and low wage workers to emerge from this crisis stronger. The Alliance aims to help millions of workers, regardless of formal education, move into good jobs in the digital economy by accelerating the development of an effective system of worker training aligned to jobs that employers will need to fill. The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented health and economic crisis, impacting tens of millions of people and devastating families across our country. This crisis is affecting some much more deeply than others -- in particular, people of color, women, those working low-wage jobs and those without a bachelor’s degree -- as the outcome of long standing racial, ethnic, gender and class bias. Against an uncertain future, we must immediately ensure that unemployed workers have government financial support for food, housing, and other vital needs -- but we must do more. We must also act to address the longer-term challenges from our changing economy and create opportunity for workers as the economy recovers, and as even more of the good, in-demand jobs will require new digital skills. The Alliance will focus on enabling unemployed and low wage workers to move to better jobs in this digital economy by providing a wholesale backbone for all types of organizations supporting workers. The Alliance will create products and services that enable these organizations to understand the good jobs that will be most in-demand and connect adults to effective rapid and affordable training and career coaching to prepare them for these jobs. We will work with employers to hire and advance workers who may not have the degrees or experience that would traditionally be required, and to enable the creation of more good jobs. Together, the Rework America Alliance aims to achieve impact at the scale and speed this crisis requires to help workers transition to good in-demand jobs in the digital economy. Read about the formation of the Alliance in the Open Letter from Markle CEO and President Zoë Baird. You can learn more about our progress and new resources developed by the Rework America Alliance in our media release. The Alliance is helping worker-facing organizations connect displaced workers to good jobs and employers to build a more diverse workforce by providing access to career guidance and talent management resources. Get Resources The Alliance is formed out of a deep commitment by a unique group of organizations including: Working with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, civil rights organizations, and key experts, we will identify select training programs that are effective at preparing people for good, in-demand jobs, and include a mix of local and national options, beginning with programs from initial participating organizations. And supported by the work of Rework America Business Network members and Skillful All partners will contribute to this work in multiple ways by applying their expertise, experience and resources to the Rework America Alliance. Fact Sheet Sign up to get news and updates about The Rework America Alliance Subscribe
Moderator: Zoë Baird, CEO & President, Markle Foundation Panelists: Chike Aguh, DigitalUS Coalition & Senior Principal, Future of Work Lead at McChrystalGroup Brian Napack, President & CEO, Wiley Angela Siefert, CEO of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance Andy Trainor, VP of US Learning, Walmart Our Essential Service: Driving a National Digital Skills Agenda to Ensure Access & Equity in an A.D. Workforce As we enter a post-pandemic initial recovery, the national unemployment rate is over 14% and the return of stable jobs remains uncertain. Digital skills, already viewed as important to worker success in the age of automation prior to COVID, are now absolutely essential for all Americans, providing access, unlocking opportunity, and creating paths to career mobility. The digital fault lines existed prior to the pandemic, but widened this spring as work, schools, recreation, social and civil engagement all rapidly became available exclusively online. A diverse set of stakeholders including employers, large and small, national organizations, state and local governments have all recognized the gravity of the topic, and are investing in the infrastructure to support a learner and worker ecosystem where digital equity, access, and resilience for all Americans is the new standard, not the exception. Digital skills are fundamental in enabling workers and the economy to recover faster, better, stronger—and more equitably. Digital US, a national coalition focused on equipping all U.S. workers with essential digital skills by 2030, released a report last week “Building a Digitally Resilient Workforce: Creating On-Ramps to Opportunity” that lays out key strategies to enable the digital fluency of individuals and companies at scale.
Stimulus for American Opportunity: Empowering Workers with Training for the Digital Economy The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 is intensifying the inequality that has plagued our economy for years. Tens of millions have lost their jobs or wages, and the people hardest hit are people of color and people in low wage jobs or with low levels of formal education. This crisis will mark an historic turn from the industrial to the digital economy where education and training will be necessary for many good jobs, threatening to leave behind those without the resources and support to access these opportunities. While degree programs are enormously important, they have not worked for all. Workers also need the choice of accessible, rapid, and affordable training that helps them to obtain better jobs with higher wages throughout their careers. The federal response has rightfully prioritized stabilizing incomes. Yet workers with a high school diploma or less lost 5.6 million jobs in the Great Recession out of 7.2 million total jobs erased. After the recession, those individuals recovered only 80,000 of those jobs lost between 2010 and 2016. To ensure that the current return to economic activity creates equal dignity for all workers, America needs major investments in training to create a system of adult learning for the digital economy. Without investments that give workers market power, millions are at risk of falling permanently behind. A bold federal commitment should address three goals. Identify training that leads to good jobs and help people pay for it. Many workers want to pursue additional training but cannot afford to do so and are unsure of which programs will help them achieve better paying jobs and careers. We know that certain skills will be necessary for long term success, and data exists to identify which programs have the strongest track record of improving participants earning prospects. Yet workers are not given the funding or guidance to pursue these programs. Create a new Opportunity Account—a new federal investment in worker training tied to jobs and wages. Workers need financial support to pay for their training. Rather than limiting funding based on the length of a program or focusing largely on in-person programs as we do now, federal and state policy makers should leverage existing wage data and incorporate employer and worker input to determine which training will lead to economic gains. Funding should be available to all unemployed and low-wage workers, and more generous funding should be available to pursue programs with the greatest impact on wages. To help everyone participate, funding should help pay for supportive services. Expand online and employer-provided training. While workers have many choices for training, there is a significant shortage of effective training options that meet the needs of workers in the current moment. Scale effective online training. Social distancing is increasing the appetite for online training options, yet many workers can’t find effective programs meet their career goals. Federal grants should expand the most effective online programs, create new programs to fill gaps, help effective in-person programs transition online, and encourage collaboration to improve outcomes in online education. Match employer investments in training and promote inclusive talent practices. Employer provided training preserves the connection between employer and employee and lets people maintain income while building skills. Yet the crisis threatens to reduce employers’ commitment to training. Federal funding should be available for employers and union programs to cover some of the costs of training that leads to good-paying jobs. Funding should also help employers adopt more inclusive talent practices that reduce bias in hiring and open opportunities for more workers. Empower people with well-informed coaches. Expanded funding for education and training is not enough. People need advice to identify careers that will help them meet their goals and choose training programs that are right for them. Hire and train more coaches: Increase federal funding to hire and train more career counselors in workforce centers, community colleges, community-based organizations, unions, and other trusted organizations that people turn to for guidance during times of crisis. Support state data infrastructure: Federal funding should accelerate efforts to identify the good jobs that are growing in each community and what is required to be successful in these jobs. This paper discusses opportunities for federal policymakers to build a system of adult learning that ensures that the return to economic activity better positions American workers for success—particularly those most profoundly impacted by the pandemic. All comments are welcome.
At Markle we are deeply saddened and angered by the brutal killing of George Floyd, and by the many other atrocious acts of violence Black people have endured as a result of systemic and institutional racism and discrimination. We stand with others to condemn racism, discrimination and injustice. We all must listen and lay bare the history of abuse Black people have encountered, and empower all voices opposing racism. As an organization, we pledge to do more to support all people of color that are hurt in so many ways by racial discrimination and institutional barriers. We must do everything we can to fix the broken systems which have led to decades of inequality and racism in every realm, to help address the impact this has had on our neighborhoods and our country. We will expand our efforts, consistent with the enormity of the need for change, and work towards a better future with equal dignity for all.