The students SkillsUSA will be serving in the year 2020 might be as young as five or six years old today. (Upon reflection, that means some of today’s SkillsUSA members might well be those students’ teachers.) We want to be ready for them, so national SkillsUSA staff met on Tuesday, December 8, for a half-day on the board-initiated Vision 2020 planning process.
Directors and staff members have conducted research over the past months in all six of the vision statement areas including expansion of the SkillsUSA brand; membership; alumni; building our partner network and our program offerings, and building and sustaining the organization including its financial strength. Directors and teams gave brief presentations on their findings and then fielded reactions and recommendations from staff. The research and staff comments – some of which are now being submitted in writing – will put in place objectives and many of the appropriate strategies for staff to consider when we go into strategic planning in January.
The discussion began with research in four megatrend areas that are most pertinent to SkillsUSA: the aging of the world’s population (and what that means for careers as well); technological development; the acceleration of change; and, network organizing. The discussion looked back a decade to get some perspective on how much really can and does change in a brief time. That included the introduction of both the ipod and Wikipedia in 2001 and the initial public offering of Google in 2004. Among the findings:
- The labor market will be a seller’s market. Skilled young workers will be in even higher demand and that will be true worldwide.
- The most important technological developments will be in information technology, biotechnology, nano-technology and energy. Computers will be 200 times faster than today and storage may be 1,000 times as large.
- The rate of change will continue and those businesses that are not change-oriented will be left behind. One of the drivers of change reflected in technology is the Fiber Law for Internet communications that predicts bandwidth capacity will double every nine months.
- Network organizing – and SkillsUSA is a strong network of members and partners – will also accelerate and grow. Thanks to things such as the Internet, the speed and reach of networks will continue to evolve globally. According to Metcalfe’s Law, the power of a network goes up exponentially by the number of people interacting with it. Collaboration technology such as cloud computing, enterprise social networks and wikis will be widely used.
These are among the many things SkillsUSA will need to plan for in 2020 or before.