TA3 International Symposium Convenes at Lawson State Community College

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TA3 International Symposium Convenes at Lawson State Community College

(BIRMINGHAM, Alabama/June 9, 2016) – Participants journeyed from vocational and technical colleges in Denmark, Germany, the Basque Country, Northern Ireland, and the Netherlands and from the across the United States to Lawson State June 5-8 for the 27th Trans-Atlantic Technology and Training Alliance (TA3) Symposium. The conference topic was: Reaching the Millennial Workforce: New Ways of Learning, Earning, and Interacting in the Digital Age.

The program featured an outstanding lineup of experts from the U.S. and Europe who shared the perspectives of educators, the private sector, philanthropy and policymakers. “Our agenda included subject matter and experts who provided marketplace intelligence to our constituents – leaders of community and technical colleges and associated groups – to help understand the future contexts in which we are preparing our students and workers,” said Dr. Perry W. Ward, president of Lawson State Community College.”

A focus group comprised of four millennials from the Birmingham area provided their perspectives and interacted with the panel and the audience. Here are some key insights from the millennials:

  • All young people, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic circumstances, education or geography want mentors.
  • Millennials want to have control over their path in life and education.
  • Millennials want to be connected – to the mission of a company, digitally, socially and within their communities.

Panelists shared these thoughts and recommendations:

PANEL A: New Ways of Learning

  • Millennials actions are heavily influenced by the economic conditions in which they grew up.
  • More robust career guidance is needed – teach students how to learn and self-actualize, connecting their passion with their values for a more sustainable career path – in order to get “the right person in the right seat.
  • Robotics will either be utilized to take your job or be your coworker.

PANEL B: New Ways of Earning

  • Continuous and blended learning is best suited for Advanced Manufacturing.
  • The number of jobs will decrease, but the level of specialized skills needed will increase.
  • There will be a universal need for hard and soft skills in all occupations.
  • Industry 4.0: Increasing productivity, connectivity and cost savings using data.
  • Great companies come down to people, skills and competencies.
  • Public private partnership is the key to success.

PANEL C: New Ways of Interacting

  • Teach skills in demand through contextualized learning, internships, and apprenticeships. Proficiency in literacy and numeracy are key!
  • Translation of skills is as important as having them in the first place.
  • There has been a shift from ‘lifetime employment’ to ‘lifetime employability.’

PANEL D: New Ways of Innovating

  • Tools for innovation include boot camps for entrepreneurship and Global Accelerator Networks.
  • Keep it Local Pledge – corporations commit to purchasing locally first.
  • Create new learning environments – with challenge-based learning where all teachers must be involved.
  • Staff need to be able to change through continuous professional development.
  • Preparing students will require mentoring on learning technologies and cohorts of team teaching.

Activities were held on the Birmingham and Bessemer campuses, as well as off-campus sites. The three-day event was kicked off with a tour of the Civil Rights District and reception at The Civil Rights Institute, a gospel choir performance, and exceptional food and hospitality. A tour of the Mercedes-Benz U.S. International plant, review of Lawson’s Automotive Program, and The Innovation Depot tour were impressive and well received.

Thank you to our fantastic sponsors who made possible the invaluable opportunities for social networking, establishing connections, and discussing opportunities to collaborate on future projects.

Chancellor’s Office – Alabama Community College System


Festo Didactic


Office of the Mayor – City of Birmingham

Next year’s conference will be hosted by Da Vinci College, Dordrecht, Netherlands.

To see and download pictures from all four days of the TA3 conference, click here! https://www.flickr.com/photos/143127901@N05/albums

Download the PowerPoint presentations here!

Dr. Patricia Buckley, Deloitte

Sameer Gadkaree, Joyce Foundation

Gerry Campbell, Chief Executive, Colleges Northern Ireland

Xuan Ma, Pearson Education

David Hooks, Director “Edge of Chaos”

Jose Luis Fernandez, TKNIKA

Marloes de Vries, DaVinci College

Thomas Lichtenberger, President for North America, FESTO Didactic