I'm at the point where I just can't hear one more piece of bad news. The headlines affect me in a negative way. So I decided to turn off the news. No more TV, no more reading news online. However, I just can't escape it. I checked Twitter this morning and a friend of mine, a well known journalist posted:
"Wrap your head around this:
Jobless claims last 3 weeks: 16,780,000
+ 5,500,000 forecast today would equal 22,280,000
Total jobs created since Great Recession: 22,088,000
In one month, 10 years of job creation wiped out..."
I was ready to have a melt down. Those are large numbers in a really short amount of time. But then I remembered in crisis there is always room for opportunity. In fact if we are going to transition to new ways of working, new jobs to grow the economy, provide better products and services we need to make that space first for that to happen.
I work in higher education, one of the many industries heavily impacted by these events. I've seen statistics that about 50% of Presidents (in one survey) are planning for an online semester in the Fall. This is painful to so many, but I see some really positive outcomes in this change. Here are just a few:
- students are pondering taking gap years - traveling, working, exploring. I have seen students really bloom by taking a gap year and having personal growth-oriented experiences.
- Online might not be the perfect medium for everyone, but could it be that it can include more students. In fact could this be a way to forward the access agenda? Granted I know we have an issue with digital divide, but this could actually be the impetus to address that gap as well.
- For success in online learning, it requires more mentoring and support. I think investing in these areas will help us achieve better persistence and graduation rates.
- Education is slowly moving to competency-based education. This is slow growth and it's a different way of thinking. However, we should be able to show employers that our students have graduated with the competencies that are relevant to them and will enable them to be successful.
These are just a few examples, but it helps me understand that while painful, we are creating space for innovation, new ways of thinking, and experimentation. I'd love to hear your examples if you've seen them. I find that finding the silver linings is infectious and empowering.