March 31, 2020

Washington, D.C. – Business Forward Foundation issued a survey report featuring business leader recommendations for reforming high schools to prepare for the future of work. Business Leaders: Future of Work is a Road Map for High School Reform is based on comments from thousands of business leaders who have participated in Business Forward programming over the past couple of years.

“Business leaders are well positioned to talk about education reform,” said Jim Doyle, president of Business Forward Foundation. “They’re the ones who hire graduates from local schools, and nearly all of them see good schools as a competitive advantage for their communities.”

Many of the business leaders in the network believe that skill building needs to start before college. “In the business world, the future of work is already here,” said Doyle. “Automation has changed a community’s ‘job mix,’ and workers need new kinds of skills. Fixing the problem should start at the high school level.” A common theme among the business leader comments is that skills like computer programming and technology literacy have become necessary for today’s economy.

The report includes over 50 business leader quotes, organized into eight themes:

      1. We cannot wait for college to prepare students for the future of work
      2. Life skills, “soft” skills, and teamwork will matter more
      3. Schools that partner with local businesses will prosper
      4. Give teachers more credit and support
      5. Give teachers and principals more autonomy, but hold them accountable
      6. Treat students like the “customer”
      7. Career prep is key; college isn’t for everyone
      8. Good schools are a competitive advantage



The Business Forward Foundation is an independent research and education organization that takes a business-minded look at policy issues affecting America’s economic competitiveness. Our work combines insights and advice from business leaders across the country with rigorous policy analysis. Through white papers, issue briefs, conference calls, and other events, we educate policy makers and the public about climate change, immigration reform, infrastructure investment, the future of work, and other critical issues.