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Keynote Speaker

Dr. Edward E. Gordon, President, Imperial Consulting Corporation, Chicago


Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis

A jobs and skills disconnect continues to widen across the United States and around the world.  Technology and global business practices have continuously raised the employee knowledge bar for most jobs, yet the education-to-employment system remains unchanged.

GordonDrawing upon his research for his latest book, Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis, Gordon will focus on how community cross-sector initiatives, for which he has coined the term RETAINs (Regional Talent Innovation Networks), are restructuring regional talent-creation systems. He will include examples of promising RETAINs in which businesses, higher education, K-12 schools, non-profits, and other community groups have formed partnerships to equip students with the education and skills needed for 21st-century careers and to retrain workers with the specific skills needed by regional employers.

Gordon will show how colleges/universities, businesses and community organizations play a significant role in organizing successful regional collaborations. He will provide several model case studies and analyze how they can be adapted to meet local business needs and community aspirations. Gordon will ask participants to consider:

  • Who are the community leaders needed for organizing a regional RETAIN?
  • How can you organize broader cross-sector business partnerships?
  • What K-12 incentives exist to encourage broader educational collaboration?
  • Who are the economic planners and how are they meeting the needs for more regional talent development?


Edward E. Gordon is an internationally recognized writer, researcher, speaker, and consultant on the future of America’s and the world’s workforce, educational preparation for jobs and careers, and regional economic development. He is president of Imperial Consulting in Chicago. Imperial has a broad range of clients from Fortune 500 companies and the Swiss government to the Federal Reserve Bank and professional associations, workforce/economic development boards, non-profit organizations in health care, K-12 and higher education, museums, and think-tanks.


bookGordon is the author of 19 books. They include Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills Crisis, Winning the Global Talent Showdown, The 2010 Meltdown: Solving the Impending Jobs Crisis, Skills Wars, Enhancing Learning in Training and Adult Education and FutureWork. His research on current workforce issues has appeared in the New York Times, New Yorker, Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Business Week, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun-Times as well as in the documentary film, “Waiting for Superman.”


Gordon has authored numerous articles in such publications as Management Review, Human Resource Executive, Employment Relations Today, Employee Benefit News, Today’s Engineer, Training, Techniques (ACTE), T&D (ATD), and Adult Learning (AAACE).  He has appeared on the CBS network’s “The Early Show,” the PBS News Hour, CNN, NPR, and many other substantive discussion programs.


Dr. Gordon received his Ph.D. in psychology and history from Loyola University, Chicago. For 20 years he taught in psychology, history, and business at three Chicago universities: DePaul, Loyola, and Northwestern.  He has served on numerous professional civic, higher education and corporate boards. Gordon currently is a member of the Executive Committee of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council, and the Advisory Board of Catholic Charities Chicago.

Suggest a 2017 Keynote Speaker by contacting the conference chair:

James M. Smith, Ph.D., Dean, Ohio University Lancaster | Pickerington

Chair for the Regional and Branch Campus Administrators Leadership Conference 2016


Program and Schedule