Doing What MATTERS for Small Business

Employers Discuss 21st Century Skills at New World of Work Event

Cornelius Brown facilitates an engaging discussion with employers about New World of Work curriculum

The world of work is changing rapidly, and employers are expecting community college graduates to not only keep pace with those changes but to thrive in positions across sectors and industries.

Cornelius Brown, Deputy Sector Navigator-Business & Entrepreneurship Greater Sacramento Region, helps to promote the New World of Work curriculum, an effort to help students thrive in the 21st-century economy. Brown and colleague Kim Harrell introduced that curriculum to about 30 employers at an event held April 19.

Employers at the event were interested in providing opportunities for community college students, and in understanding how those students are learning 21st-century skills. The classroom is not the same as the world of work, and students need to learn how to engage and collaborate effectively no matter what industry they enter.

One way that happens is through the New World of Work program, part of Doing What MATTERS for Jobs and the Economy. The program brings together employers, workforce development boards, educators, and research organizations across the country to build college and career-ready, 21st-century employability skills.

New World of Work established a top 10 list of 21st-century employability skills and worked with community college faculty to create lessons and digital badges in those areas. Skills include adaptability, collaboration, communication, and digital fluency.

Those skills are acquired through digital badges, which are credentials that a student can place onto a LinkedIn profile or personal website after completing a course or courses in a specific area.

Brown surveyed employers at the April 19 event and asked what skills were needed in their organizations. Their responses — empathy, communication, and dependability — align with the skills covered in the New World of Work curriculum.

He’s hoping that this event will serve as a catalyst to continue these conversations with even more employers in the region.

“Through our employer engagement events, we hope to inspire other employers within our region to learn more about the 21st-century employment skills,” Brown said. “By working together, we can build and sustain a thriving workforce that will impact our economy.”

For more information about New World of Work, visit or contact Cornelius Brown at

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