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College and Career Pathways, K-12 Education

The Future of Work Is Learning

Today’s workplace is evolving at a dizzying pace. Everything about how and where we get work done and the technology we use to do so is in a state of change, making it difficult to keep up. But staying employed in this constantly changing economy will require the ability to adapt, reskill and reinvent. Quite simply:

In the future, those who continuously learn will continue to lead.

This is the key thesis of education and technology thought leader Heather McGowan and the focal point of the Skillman Foundation’s session at the 2018 Mackinac Policy Conference.

Skillman Foundation MPC18 Session

Wednesday, May 30

Grand Hotel Brighton Pavilion

Joined by a panel of philanthropy and education professionals, McGowan will help examine how Michigan can be redesigned to prepare students for the future of work, and what is needed to keep Detroit and Michigan at the forefront of talent development.


Heather McGowan (@heathermcgowan)
Author & Speaker on the Future of Learning & Work

Recognized as the 2017 #1 global voice for Education on LinkedIn, Heather McGowan is an internationally known speaker, writer and thought leader. McGowan prepares leaders to most-effectively react to rapid and disruptive changes in education, work, and society. As an innovation strategist, Heather has worked with diverse teams to address these challenges. Recognizing that business innovation begins with education, specifically learning faster than your competition, she has worked with university presidents and corporate human resources managers to prepare both graduates and workers for jobs that do not yet exist. She assists corporate executives in rethinking their business models, teams, and organizational structures to become resilient in changing markets.

You can read a full recap of McGowan’s talk and see slides from her presentation here. For more about Heather McGowan’s perspective on the future of work and learning by visiting her website.


Terry Rhadigan (@TerryRhadigan)
Executive Director, Communications Operations & Corporate Giving

As the executive in charge of both Communications Operations and Corporate Giving for General Motors Company, Terry Rhadigan and his team play a significant role in enhancing the image and reputation of the automaker, and increasing the engagement of its employees.

Rhadigan joined GM Communications in 1997, where he’s held a variety of positions, including managing safety, legal and internal communications. He has led global auto show and program operations, Chevrolet communications and North America regional activities. Before moving to communications, Rhadigan worked at the former GM Foundation. Rhadigan started his General Motors career in 1988, serving in a front-line position at the Chevrolet Customer Assistance Center.

Rhadigan is a native of the Detroit area and earned a bachelor of arts degree from Michigan State University in 1987.

Dr. Nikolai P. Vitti (@Dr_Vitti)
Superintendent, Detroit Public Schools Community District

Dr. Nikolai Vitti is superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District, a role he has held for the past year. Vitti previously led Duval County Public Schools, the 20th largest school district in the nation. During his four and a half years there, the district ranked among the first to fourth highest performing urban districts in the nation. Under Dr. Vitti’s tenure, DCPS was recognized for its expansion of the arts, foreign languages, innovative school programming, and mental health and progressive discipline strategies.

Dr. Vitti was previously chief academic officer of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, assistant superintendent for the Miami-Dade district and deputy chancellor at the Florida Department of Education. He also served children as a principal, dean of students, and teacher. He received a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s degree in education from Wake Forest University. He also holds a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.


Tonya Allen (@allen_tonya)
President & CEO, The Skillman Foundation

Tonya Allen serves as the Skillman Foundation’s president & CEO. Allen aligns the complexities of education reform, urban revitalization, and public policy to improve the well-being of Detroit’s and the nation’s children. She has been instrumental in many successful philanthropic, government and community initiatives, including the 10-year, $120-million Good Neighborhoods Initiative, which increased graduation rates by 25 percent, youth programming by 40 percent, and reduced child victimization by 47 percent; the creation and expansion of Grow Detroit’s Young Talent, which increased summer jobs for youth from 2,500 to 8,200 paid positions; co-chairing the Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren, which successfully advocated for $667 million for the Detroit Public Schools Community District and return of an elected school board; and serving the boys and men of color field as chair for Campaign for Black Male Achievement and co-chair for the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Color. Allen holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degrees in social work and public health, all from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.

Additional Reading on the Future of Learning & Work

Learning & Work

Michigan Context

The Skillman Foundation

A voice for children since 1960, The Skillman Foundation is a private philanthropy that serves as a fierce champion of Detroit children. The Foundation works to ensure Detroit youth achieve their highest aspirations by strengthening K-12 public education, afterschool learning opportunities, and college and career pathways.

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