Oct 25, 2021 | Atlanta, GA
Dean Kaye Husbands Fealing emphasized the need to expand broadband and improve digital equity among low-to-middle income communities to build a 21st century workforce and sustainable infrastructure during two panel discussions this past week.
Fealing was a panelist for the Aspen Institute Economic Strategy Group’s discussion on Promoting American Innovation and Competitiveness: The Role of Infrastructure, R&D Investment, and Industrial Policy. She also spoke for the Journal of Science Policy & Governance’s (JSPG) Higher Education for a 21st Century STEM Workforce panel.
During the JSPG discussion, Fealing said students must see the value in their degree and leave college having participated in learning opportunities outside of the classroom that develop a flexible skillset.
“We have to realize students are no longer working in one place for 30 years, but now work 10 years then make a career shift,” Fealing said. “We have to accommodate that change.”
In the Aspen Institute’s panel, Fealing argued that the foundation of any type of infrastructure or research and development investment coming from the federal level must be equitable across all socioeconomic strata and should be balanced with a focus on humanities.
“Individuals from rural communities or city neighborhoods need to have onramps or pathways to jobs that are STEM or STEM adjacent that are sustainable in future,” she said. “[And] we need to understand better the behavioral and social science side of these investments so we can truly see innovation.”