Leading Edge Research and Analysis

How, when, and why does learning at work occur?  What blocks it?  What helps it?  Motivated to Global communications, Americaimprove the transition from school to work in the U.S., I led a group of experts to conduct the world’s first major empirical study of informal learning at work, funded by the PEW Charitable Trusts, USDOL, and Workforce Boards of six US States.  The $3 million dollar study included qualitative and quantitative research at Motorola, Boeing, Ford, Siemens, and several small and mid-size companies, finding that more than 70% of critical workplace skills are learned informally, in 13 ordinary workplace activities, under the radar screen of HR.  To learn more about this study and how capitalize on its findings, visit the Convergent Learning Zone.

What is the reported extent of skills gaps around the world?  For UNESCO’s Global Monitoring Report I reviewed over 100 employer reports on skills gaps in some 40 countries in almost all regions of the world.  More than half of employers around the world say that gaps in skills constrain their growth. For example: India’s National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) has forecast that by 2022, there will be an incremental shortfall of 240-250 million people in high growth sectors of the Indian economy (where 90 percent of the population works in the informal sector); 67 percent of Brazil’s employers say lack of skills constrain their growth; Similarly, 50 percent of Egypt’s employers reported these constraints; Similar or higher numbers can be found throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

What are skills gaps in Egypt, U.S., Brazil and India?  Using employer reports on skills gaps and other data, at the request of UNESCO I compiled four case studies that analyzed skills gaps in these countries.  You can find these in the publications section of this website.

How do leading corporations work around constraints in their supply chains?  The World Bank wanted to understand more about how major companies work around constraints to innovation in their supply chains in developing emerging markets.  Working closely with leaders at Nike, the World Bank, and the Conference Board, we identified several pivotal areas where governments could improve their policies to help companies innovate in ways that benefit both the companies and the country.

What’s the Workforce of the Future?  For The Conference Board, I researched and prepared a policy brief on the needs of the workforce of the future and ways in which The Conference Board could provide leadership to corporations and donors organizations.

How is technology transfer from multi-nationals to small enterprises affected by math achievement? At the request of the IADB I led a four-country team that compared curriculum requirements for math in Brazil, Honduras, and Costa Rica to those in Sweden and examined to what extent employers in each country required math for adding value in the ICT sector.

What’s best practice in how countries develop the skills of their workforce?  I led a team that conducted a 20-country study on what works in how countries develop their workforce.  The findings became the basis for training at various donor organizations.

What do exit requirements from vocational schools in the U.S., compare to 5 northern European countries? With support from the German Marshall Fund of the United States I conducted a study of exit requirements for skills and knowledge from U.S. and northern European vocational institutions in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, and the NL.