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Press Release - Healthcare Workforce Education Roundtable

healthcare workforceSANTA BARBARA— Assemblymember Das Williams (D-Carpinteria) participated in a Healthcare Workforce Education Roundtable on Wednesday, October 8th. The roundtable discussion was hosted by SynED, which seeks to identify priorities, values and synergies of intention and technology that increase transparency and establish trusted communication between employers, jobseekers and education providers in this increasingly divergent educational ecosystem. There were key leaders representing the healthcare workforce from the state as well as Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties. The discussion explored issues and emerging technologies related to improving the connection between education and employment in the healthcare sector.

"The infusion of technology into the future workplace will need different kinds of skills than what we have been used to, in order for people to gain employment. The slow and uneven response to changing workplace demands can lead to a jobs and skills mismatch. Information technology can help bridge this by connecting the right people with the right set of skills, to the right job," said Williams.

There were presentations by Carla Casilli on Open Badging, Peter Janzow on Healthcare Enterprise Training Technology, Patrice Ryan from Cottage Hospital and Former Chair of the California Hospital Association Workforce Committee, as well as from Leslie Dubow on VA SimLEARN.

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Santa Barbara Healthcare Roundtable 2014

SynEd Healthcare RoundTable 2014 1Select healthcare leadership in the Santa Barbara region and special guest Das Williams, Assembly Member and Chair of the CA Assembly Higher Education Committee met at Antioch University on October 8, 2014 at a meeting convened by SynED, an educational non-profit futures group, to discuss a unique solution for access to relevant training for the healthcare workforce.

Attendees participated and heard presentations by the Open Badge Alliance, Pearson/Acclaim, Cottage Health System and the Veterans Health Administration which were interspersed with group discussion among regional WIBs, Healthcare providers and educators. After thoughtful consideration, a recommendation was made to continue the discussion and plan a pilot or trial of the digital badge approach among several of the entities represented.

As traditional access to education is positively disrupted by new technologies like digital badges and gamefication, it is incumbent upon civic leadership – elected and voluntary – to lead the discussion to ensure that the changes are inclusive and effectively meet the changing needs of the workforce ecosystem. SynED's involvement statewide in similar efforts will continue to inform the group's efforts.

SynED has published a review paper capturing the vision and enthusiasm of the participants and the potential for for pilot ecosystems to validate the efficacy of digital badges in the healthcare industry.

pdfDownload the Healthcare Roundtable Report

Digital Badge Review Meeting 2014

badg imageOn May 16, 2014 a group of professionals representing various stakeholder viewpoints in workforce education gathered at Los Positas College to discuss the vision and issues relating to giving recognition for skills acquired in both tradition and non-traditional learning venues. It was held as an information sharing session on the topic of Digital Badges with attendees representing a workforce digital badge 'ecosystem'. Digital Badging is an evolving approach that is being explored by many commercial and public entities and was the main topic of conversation at this gathering.

SynED has published a review paper capturing the the vision and enthusiasm of the participants and the potential for for pilot ecosystems to validate the efficacy of digital badges.

pdfDownload the Digital Badge Review Report

Is College Worth It For Me?

How Adults Without Degrees Think About Going (Back) to School

A report by Public Agenda, with support from The Kresge Foundation NOVEMBER 2013

SynED Commentary

We have included the executive summary of this report here to recognize the great work done by Public Agenda and the Kresge Foundation. We feel that this report identifies very relevant issues that must be considered in the conversation about how education and student learning will be restructured, either through design or through technology and social pressure, to accommodate the needs of individual learning over a professional lifetime. 

The complete report can be viewed at Public Agenda's website.


Do prospective students, especially those entering college after years away from the classroom, know how to find institutions that best serve their needs?

What are adult prospective students' expectations and priorities as they decide what to study and where to enroll?

What kinds of information are they getting, and what can be done to help this group of Americans make wiser decisions about their education?

This research report examines the expectations, attitudes and needs of adults who are thinking about earning postsecondary credentials after having spent some or in most cases many years in the workforce. Most of these prospective students hope a certificate or degree will advance their chances in the labor market, but they are greatly worried about the costs of college and their ability to balance school with the demands of work and family. They are particularly attracted to schools that offer practical programs and hands-on support from caring and knowledgeable teachers and advisers.

This research also reveals that many adult prospective students don't consider important information about the quality of different colleges and programs in their decisions. Many existing supports for helping prospective students are not reaching these adults. The report thus concludes with concrete ideas and considerations for how leaders in higher education, government and philanthropy can help adult prospective students make wise choices about their higher education.

 Public Agenda conducted this research with support from The Kresge Foundation. Data for this study were collected through a nationally representative survey of 803 adults (18 to 55 years old) without college degrees who are considering enrolling in a post-secondary program to earn a college credential (adult prospective students). These interviews were conducted via telephone, including cell phones, and online, in the spring of 2013. In addition, Public Agenda conducted a total of eight focus groups with adult prospective students for this research, including four Learning Curve Research focus groups, which are deliberative focus group discussions with follow-up interviews.

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How the Changing Education Landscape is Helping Entrepreneurs

The higher-education industry is changing drastically and that change is good for business -- and entrepreneurs.

Colleges and universities are no longer the gatekeeper of information or the only game in town. Instead, numerous new providers are entering the fray, increasing competition for students (customers) and driving down prices. Not only are these new services focusing on traditional students, but they are also gunning for the fastest growing customer market: "adult students." Already, adults over 25 account for 38 percent of post-secondary enrollments and corporations account for 63 percent of spending on post-secondary training and development, which equates to big opportunities.

Colleges and universities are providing this whole array of students more possibilities, and entrepreneurs are also taking note, with many disrupting the industry.

Looking to get a piece of this ed-tech pie? Here are how entrepreneurs are shaping the education sector.

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Recognizing Everyone As a Student


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