Nurturing a smart community is not just about applied technology. It’s about using technology to make sure that 21st century education is inclusive, available to people at every stage of life, and centered on skills that are applicable to today’s tech-driven job market. It’s about embracing differences and learning from them. Fostering a society of smart people is about preparing Nashvillians to connect with a fast-paced global community in ways that are creative, meaningful and successful.
Strategies in Dimension 3, Smart People
Strategy 9: Reduce the Social Isolation of Learning Communities
Nashville can enhance individual empowerment, social inclusion, economic development, cultural prosperity and sustainable development by building what UNESCO terms a “learning city”. A learning city mobilizes its resources in all sectors to promote inclusive learning at all levels, revitalizes learning in families and communities, facilitates learning for and in the workplace, extends the use of modern learning technologies, enhances quality in learning and fosters a culture of lifelong learning. Metro has worked to connect K-12 learning environments, as demonstrated by the many local partnerships with Metro Nashville Public Schools.
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Strategy 10: Develop STEM, Computational Thinking and Problem Solving Skills
In March of 2017, Forbes Magazine published an article titled The Cities Creating The Most Tech Jobs 2017. Nashville ranked number 7 out of the 16 featured cities with a whopping 75% growth in tech-sector jobs within a 10-year period, from 2006-2016. The boom in tech-related jobs requires a re-engineering of how Metro educates K-12 students in school and out of school, especially as it relates to empowering female students and students from underrepresented communities (e.g. gender, race/ethnicity, immigrant/refugee communities, and differently abled) to pursue tech careers.
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Strategy 11: Develop an Adaptable Workforce to Meet the Changing Needs of Business
The rapid development of technology has transformed the world of business. Nashville Technology Council (NTC) estimates that as of 2016, 1,600 tech jobs go unfilled annually in Middle Tennessee. Innovative and thoughtful action is required to develop the educational pathways and pipelines for the jobs of the future in Nashville. To help with this strategy, Governor Bill Haslam has put forth an ambitious goal of having 55% of Tennessee residents earn a post-secondary credential by the year 2025. Metro Nashville can assist in this effort by scaling current practices and building new pipelines of workers.
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Strategy 12: Increase Digital Literacy and Innovation Capacity
According to the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ BrightBytes survey produced in 2016, 16% of students are without a home computer, laptop or tablet while 10% are without home internet connectivity. The 2015 Metro Social Services Community Needs Evaluation estimated that 75,720 people in Davidson County did not have internet access. These Nashvillians, regardless of socioeconomic status, physical disability, language, race, gender, or any other characteristics that have been linked with unequal treatment, need assistance to enter the digital age.
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