Department Senior Officials to Discuss Skills Gap, Education Reform during Sessions at GE Foundation Business and Education Summit

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U.S. Department of Education Director of Strategic Partnerships Suzanne Immerman and Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton will discuss the link between education reform and preparing students to enter the workforce during two sessions at the Annual GE Foundation Developing Futures in Education Summer Conference on Tuesday, July 17 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

At the 9 a.m. opening session titled "College- and Career-Readiness: State and National Perspectives," Shelton and Immerman will join two other panelists in a discussion on current efforts at the state and national levels to help prepare students for college or a career after they leave grade school. They will talk about the Education Department's education reform initiatives and its cradle-to-career efforts to ensure that students are ready to compete in the global economy. Immerman will also highlight the Department's work with businesses and philanthropic organizations.

At 1 p.m., Shelton will deliver remarks as a special guest speaker. Shelton will touch on the Obama Administration's initiatives to transform education, including new programs like Race to the Top, the Investing in Innovation fund, and the Promise Neighborhoods program, which encourage educators to use innovative solutions to enhance their classrooms' instruction and accelerate student learning.

According to research, 59 percent of all jobs in Florida will require some postsecondary training beyond high school in 2012. New jobs created in Florida between 2008 and 2018 that require postsecondary education and training are expected to grow by 679,000, while half as many new jobs will be available for high school graduates and dropouts.

The annual GE conference attracts business leaders from across the country to engage in intensive dialogue on how a united business effort supporting college and career readiness initiatives can ensure the sustained economic competitiveness of the United States.