Bertram Crosses Country Speaking on How to Inspire Students for a Global Economy

Vince traveled coast to coast in May speaking to students, parents, educators, and business leaders about the growing skills gap in America and how we must inspire today’s students for success after high school graduation.

To a crowd of over 50 business leaders, policy makers, and educators at the Innovation Conference on Education and Workforce in South Carolina, Vince shared how we can work together to solve the science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) crisis facing America.

Dr. Bill Daggett welcomed the guests by framing the problem: our country is dealing with a skills gap that left unaddressed will have serious consequences with the economic vitality of America. Emily DeRocco, former U.S. assistant secretary for employment and training, then spoke on where most of the jobs of the 21st century will be – STEM fields.

The consensus was clear: we have a problem. Vince offered a solution.

“We can change course, and we can solve this,” he said. “Too often we want to play the blaming game. Teachers are not the problem, teachers are the solution.”

To move forward, we must inspire students.

“We have to make learning relevant, we have to hold students to high expectations, and we have to nurture a love of learning,” he said. “That’s why at Project Lead The Way, we learn how important it is and how urgent it is.”

After his remarks, Vince had the opportunity to meet with PLTW students at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies, including Jason Shaffer, who designed a special cup for patients unable to tilt their head back to drink liquids. After graduation, Schaffer plans to continue marketing his product with interested investors while attending college.

After South Carolina, Vince traveled to Rolla, Missouri, to speak at the 2015 Missouri S&T Spring Commencement ceremonies.

Parents, family members, and loved ones gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of more than 1,200 graduates, and Vince shared how important their futures are to the vitality of our communities, our country, and our world.

“We need to inspire students’ intellectual curiosity, inspire their innovative and entrepreneurial spirit,” he said. “So why do I share this with you? Because we need more people like you.”

As the graduates closed this chapter in their lives and begin careers, he encouraged them to seek not just success, but significance.

While in Rolla, Vince toured the Student Design and Experiential Learning Center where he met members of the university’s 14 multi-disciplinary student-managed design teams. The teams design and build a number of products for national competitions, all while learning the organizational problem-solving process that is essential for the successful development of a market-ready product.

From Missouri, Vince traveled to Los Angeles to serve as the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual Schools That Can Forum at Loyola Marymount University. Educators from all across the country gathered to share in the conversation about connecting education and the workforce.

“Schools are the pipeline to America’s STEM workforce, but there are simply not enough students in the pipeline today who will graduate with both the interest and skills to meet the STEM demand,” he said.

Later that night, Vince had the distinct pleasure of presenting at the Da Vinci Schools Senior Awards Night where seniors who had completed three or more PLTW courses received recognition in front of their peers and family members.

“Each of you has a special story on how you reached this day, parents and others who influenced you, and teachers who inspired you,” he said. “Your preparation and hard work, along with your acquired ability to problem-solve, think critically, communicate effectively, and collaborate are what distinguish each of you.”

He also had the opportunity to meet the students who are learning and innovating every day at Beverly Vista School. Sixth graders were exploring the automation process and shared how they use the design process to overcome failures in the lab.

After Los Angeles, Vince travels to Chico, California.

Stay current on Vince’s travels – and the latest in education and workforce development news – by following him on Twitter at @VinceBertram.