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Michelle Weise

Future of Education & Workforce Strategist


Opportunity On-ramps: Targeted Education for the Jobs of the Future

Tech is advancing; jobs are morphing, and job tenure is shorter; retirement is delayed or gone entirely; and education has to be continuous. Education and workforce strategist Dr. Michelle R. Weise talks about the infrastructure we need to build for a future filled with 20, 30, or more job changes. Part of that involves building more on-ramps to better economic opportunities, which are not always going to mirror the educational experiences we recognize today. During this session, Dr. Weise will share an array of new approaches to skills building for the jobs of today and tomorrow. 

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About Me

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Audience and Lecturer


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Work-Based Learning

Even when the US economy is humming along, it contains a strange paradox. Employers have a hard time finding workers, yet simultaneously many workers have a hard time finding appropriate employment. WBL helps learners enter and succeed in their first or next career, yet it remains a tiny percentage of our student experience. We’re proud to feature the most dynamic and sought-after speakers who are true Industry Thought Leaders at the forefront of career-connected learning.

It is time to solve our workforce paradox once and for all.

Getting to Know Michelle



What was your first job experience?
What did you learn from it?

My very first job experience in life was babysitting, so I learned quickly a lot about patience and caring for others before yourself. When I was in high school, I was a teaching assistant for middle school math classes, which taught me how hard it is to teach so that learners really grasp a concept. I also interned for a large consulting firm and learned how to take on any task with a „yes, and“ attitude, even when it meant filing a lot of paperwork. I think all of these kinds of informal work experiences really helped me understand how important it is for people to be able translate and transfer their “hidden skills“ into the language of the labor


What sparked your interest in work-based learning?

As I‘ve learned about more innovations and models
over the years that do an excellent job of work-based or work-integrated learning, I just wish I had had more opportunities like that when I was going through school. These opportunities are not available at scale, and they are not distributed broadly and systematically across all parts of learning ecosystem, including within the flow of actual paid work. I know I have always learned best in the context of solving a real- world problem, and in order to create more nimble agents of the future, we need to get a whole lot more creative about how we make problem- based learning the core of all teaching and learning, rather than mere anomalies in the education system.


What missteps would you caution others to avoid as they work to promote or develop work-based learning opportunities?

It‘s critical to backwards-map from the needs of the employer without getting too caught up in custom builds that are impossible to replicate. The creation of learning pathways for emerging jobs will likely require a kind of mass customization. Consider that with the food selections within a single Chipotle restaurant, you can actually come up with something like 65,000 different combinations of a meal. We need to be able to do that with skills-building or competency- building opportunities for the future. How do we take a learner, measure where they are in terms of the skills they bring to help them acquire the specific skills they need to compete for the job that they want? How do we build those precise and targeted educational experiences that get them where they need to go? This involves modularizing our curriculum into skills-based and competency-based pathways. It requires a real re-engineering of our learning experiences-not just taking existing content and repackaging it for the workforce. This is hard, time-consuming work, but something that will pay off in the future.

“Everything that happens to you is a form of instruction if you pay attention“.

Robert Greene (Mastery)

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