Innovation, Inclusion and the Workforce of the Future — Regional Smart Cities Initiative
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Showcasing for the first time late last month, the Smart Regions Conference brought together a diverse group of leaders to discuss opportunities in Smart Cities.  Rhonda Binda (Venture Smarter), Bjorn Simmons (Wyzerr), Michael Beck (Code for Kids), Austin Lee (Northern Kentucky University), Jason Miller (Centric Consulting), and  Seema Shah (LaGuardia Community College) collaborate on Innovation, Inclusion and the Workforce of the Future.

At the Innovation, Inclusion and the Workforce of the Future panel, experts led a passionate discussion on the jobs of the future, how to close the digital divide and how to make decisions around smart city technology deployment equitable.

Jason Miller, Director of Digital & Mobile Services at Centric Consulting The panel stressed the importance of and strategies for incorporating STEM programs focused in urban areas and on girls, as fewer girls, Latinos, and African-Americans are studying to prepare for jobs of the present and future in technology. New skills will also be needed. According to the World Economic Forum, as more jobs are automated, skills such as creativity, customer service, and emotional intelligence have more of a premium. We also discussed Bloomberg’s guiding principle of technology made “with” and not “for” people and what concrete steps to take to make it more of a reality.


The panel agreed upon the importance of a leadership exchange like Venture Smarter to match programs with opportunities and inform policy.

Key Takeaway:

It will take a multifaceted approach to address the challenges of defeating the digital divide and achieving economic inclusion in this 4th industrial revolution.