Tim Taylor is the co-founder and president of America Succeeds whose vision is about building public education systems to prepare every student to succeed in the competitive global economy and contribute to their local community. The mission is to engage business leaders in championing education systems that create opportunities for all learners to succeed. One of the issues they are looking to remediate is the lack of systems to validate postsecondary credentials and skill sets obtained by learners without traditional college training.
I grew up in Washington, DC. I am a graduate of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia and earned a Master’s degree in International Affairs from The George Washington University.I began my career on Capitol Hill as a Senior Legislative Assistant to Congressman Saxby Chambliss (GA).
Like a lot of people, I moved to Colorado to ski and for the lifestyle. I live in Denver with my wife Clare and our Boykin Spaniel, Hobbes, and we have two children in college. After relocating to Colorado in 1998, I served as an independent political consultant, Director of Public Relations and Government Affairs for the Colorado Health Care Association.
One of my passions was golf and I saw that a lot of kids in the city didn’t have access to it. So I launched a nonprofit called Open Fairways to get inner city kids on the golf course. We worked with some amazing kids. We partnered with homes for abused and neglected kids. We were not trying to create the next Tiger Woods, we just wanted to give kids a great experience.
What is America Succeeds and how does it improve outcomes for too many kids who fall through the cracks?
We started as Colorado Succeeds, and that grew into America Succeeds. It was built on the philosophy that employers needed to be at the table when we discuss education policy. We think policy makers and parents and employers and educators all want the best thing for our kids, but we think we can do more to improve outcomes. There are too many kids who fall through the cracks. You can use collaboration and critical thinking in English class, math, science, history… when we meet with teachers or administrators there is never any push back that students need these skills.
What are the Durable Skills? How were these decided as priority skills? Who needs durable skills the most?
Durable Skills (also known as ‘soft skills’) are skills we use to share what we know, like critical thinking, collaboration, or communication, as well as character skills like fortitude and leadership. Better integrating Durable Skills into education pathways will help ensure a broader, more inclusive group of learners ultimately find success in their careers and communities.
We found that 7 of the 10 most in demand skills are durable skills. Without these types of skills there are fewer opportunities to create a career path. We need to make sure that kids are getting these skills as they work their way through the system.
We are working with CompTIA to develop an assessment of a candidate’s strengths so they can lead with them on a resume. If you leave a job, you may not take your technical skills with you but you will always take your durable skills.
There are currently 8 states that have eliminated the 4 year degree requirement for most state jobs (unless necessary). And while certifications and stackable credentials are creating opportunities for job seekers on the technical side of the hiring equation, the 4 year degree is still the best proxy that validates Durable Skills.
What’s next for you and America Succeeds?
Mid wage and high wage jobs, the jobs of the future, need more of the durable skills. So you are future proofing your job skills. We have to be able to teach, develop and practice these skills over a lifetime.
Tim’s Contact Information
I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Tim Taylor who joined me on my virtual porch! Tim helped me create this wonderful post that includes his story, podcast, about starting a non-profit to teach golf to give inner city kids opportunities, and how he started America Succeeds. Please share this podcast and the post with your friends.
Make sure you check out more of the Rethinking Learning podcasts and each post that the guests created. Click the logo below or go to https://barbarabray.net/podcasts/
For more information about my book, Define Your WHY, go to this page or click on the image of the book for resources, questions, and links.