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July 27, 2016

Back To School For All

Posted by Sandeep Dadlani (View Profile | View All Posts) at 7:25 AM



STEM Integration in K-12 Education [Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AlPJ48simtE]

The 'back to school season' in the U.S. is like a holiday, celebrating education - and new backpacks. But for too many, celebrating education stops at graduation. Far too often, when classrooms become cubicles, K-12 becomes 9-5, and students become employees, that commitment to learning stops.

It shouldn't.

Today especially, when the speed of change is measured at the speed of light, workers must continually sharpen their skills and bolster their knowledge. And importantly, employers have to help. Companies need to ensure their workforce is the most innovative and productive it can be. Companies must make training and professional development a priority.

I've seen the quick pace of change firsthand. When I graduated in Electronics Engineering in 1995, I was proud to know how to code in Basic. Today? Javascript, HTML5, and Python are the "basics." And parents, who remember typewriters in high school, now have children who use iPads in elementary school.

These aren't just anecdotes; the evidence agrees. The world is adopting new technology faster than ever. It took decades for the telephone to reach 50 percent of households. It only took five or so years for cellphones to do the same.

And just as quickly, job descriptions are becoming more demanding. The ability to employ big data, analytics, automation and even artificial intelligence is in high demand--but low supply. By 2018, the U.S. could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts who can use big data in their decision-making.

In a rapidly changing marketplace, that's a crisis of qualification.

The solution? It starts in schools. Coding, STEM and computer science education must be a core curriculum in schools and colleges: for everyone. Women and minorities are underrepresented in STEM. That's something we need to change. To help, Infosys Foundation USA proudly funds and supports STEM initiatives, and computer science education across the U.S. However, technology changes so quickly that re-focused schooling isn't enough. Learning can't stop at graduation.

Just ask a doctor. Years and years of schooling and training aren't enough. There's always a new life-saving procedure or drug. After graduation, doctors don't surrender to educational complacency. They keep learning. It's a white coat and never a white flag.

All workers need that commitment to continual learning. All employers need it too.

Training and education have been priorities for Infosys for more than 30 years. It's a proud heritage that's made us one of the world leaders in corporate education.

And it all starts with our graduate training program. Through our 23-week residential training program, we help new hires transition from success in the academic world to success in the corporate world. Over 10 years, we've trained more than 100,000 engineers--all at the Mysore Infosys Global Education Center, one of the world's largest corporate universities in the world.

But training can't be constrained to a corporate campus any more than a college campus. So our social learning platform, Digital Tutor, brings learning online and allows us to tap into the Infosys expertise available across the world. The platform has more than 2,000 training videos on nearly 300 topics made by Infosys employees and made available to Infosys employees. Even our CEO--Dr Vishal Sikka--is an active teacher and has created a module on artificial intelligence.

Beyond just a new skill, we train a new awareness. As part of our Zero Distance innovation program, every employee is expected to find ways to help our clients find new solutions to old--and new--problems. To assist, we've trained more than 100,000 people on Design Thinking, a problem-solving protocol that's like a reliable roadmap to innovation.

Altogether, our employees and our company work better because we make continual education a priority. A well-trained workforce is a heritage, not an accident.

Across the U.S., it's back to school season. As students and communities re-commit to education, employees and companies must too. In a world moving so fast, we can't stand still and expect to get ahead. Employers must make workforce training and development a priority, because workers trained for success will drive companies to success.

This back to school season, let's all commit to get back to learning.

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