December 12, 2018

Business Forward and XQ today released a new report, High School and the Future of Work. The report makes the business case that high schools must be fundamentally transformed to meet the needs of the workplaces of the future. By 2030, workplace demand for technological skills will increase by 60%, for creativity by 40%, and for entrepreneurship by 33%. To meet those needs, states must act to empower local communities to transform high schools, make diplomas meaningful, and get teachers the tools they need.


“Too many students are graduating without the technical skills, creativity, and problem-solving abilities today’s jobs require,” said Russlynn Ali, XQ Institute Chief Executive Officer. “That’s why we are encouraging business leaders across the U.S. to work with state and local officials to transform high school. It’s critical for our children, our economy, and our country.”


Governors can make high schools a priority by offering incentives to design schools of the future, promoting the “innovation” status that allows high schools to experiment and innovate, and using pilot programs to seed innovation.

“Business leaders know the world is changing, and high schools must change to better prepare graduates for the workforce of the future,” said Jim Doyle, President of Business Forward. “Business leaders can help make high school diplomas meaningful again by speaking out in support of innovative schools and developing collaborative work-based learning programs.”


Young people face an uncertain future unless they get the education they need. Currently, nearly half of Americans have a job where at least some tasks can be automated. Too many high school students aren’t graduating, and too many of those who do graduate aren’t ready for college or career. The problem is most acute for students from low-income families and students of color.

Business Forward and XQ are promoting solutions to make diplomas meaningful, including:

• Modernizing career training to prepare students for good jobs in growing fields
• Promoting a broad set of skills and competencies, such as self-discipline, initiative and creativity
• Challenging students to take advanced courses and providing extra support to students that need it
• Ensuring equal access to courses, quality teachers and extracurricular opportunities.

Members of the media who would like to speak to business leaders in their state about their opinions on developing future-ready high schools can contact Business Forward.


With the help of more than 60 of America’s most respected companies, Business Forward is making it easier for more than 100,000 business leaders from across America to advise Washington on how to create jobs and accelerate our economy. Business Forward is active in over 125 cities and works with more than 600 mayors, governors, members of Congress, and senior Administration officials.

Business leaders who have participated in our briefings have seen their suggestions implemented in the Affordable Care Act, the JOBS Act, the Clean Power Plan, the Toxic Substances Control Act, three trade agreements, and the President’s budgets. Many have also shared their recommendations with their representatives in Congress and through phone calls, op-eds, and interviews with local media. Ninety-eight out of 100 business leaders who have participated in a Business Forward briefing would be interested in participating in another one.

XQ launched in 2015 as an open call to the nation to rethink and redesign the American high school. That call inspired more than 10,000 people to join locally-led teams to propose innovative, student-centered school designs. To date, XQ has pledged more than $130 million to bring the best of those ideas to life, including 18 Super Schools in 15 states. XQ now supports a growing national network of educators, students, and civic minded citizens committed to transforming high school so all graduates are prepared for the jobs of the future, and it offers free, open-source tools so that every community can to participate.