The Time Is Now: Developing Student-Athletes Future Skills of the Workforce

Leaders of Evolution Co-founder and Director Jon Shepherd presented as a keynote presenter at the invite-only National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Minnowbrook Summit IV hosted by Syracuse University in New York State last weekend. The Minnowbrook Summit provides a private space for open and free dialogue between faculty athletic representatives and academic directors to discuss the current state of collegiate athletics and the direction they all need to collectively move toward. 

Minnowbrook Summit
The audience included 16 people attending in-person following strict social distancing and safety protocols and over 30 guests joined through video conferencing.

That direction is being led by EdTech companies like Leaders of Evolution, providing student-athletes with the necessary skills to thrive in the workforce. Shepherd presented ‘From Backpacks to Boardrooms: Amplifying Global Workforce Skills’ which highlighted the global impacts of COVID-19 on the education sector and how the face of education can be changed to better fit the needs of its students. Shepherd’s presentation showcased why tomorrow’s workforce skills are the currency student-athletes must develop today. The collegiate athletic environment is the perfect setting for growing the capabilities of our future workforce.  

The Minnowbrook IV Summit pushed the ideals for the future of collegiate athletes, focusing on what student-athletes can become. Other notable presenters included Greg Sankey, Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), one of the most accomplished sports conferences in terms of its winning reputation and university athletic program name recognition. Sankey has challenged the SEC to rise up its ultimate potential, asking student-athletes to be “Scholars. Champions. Leaders.” with those ideals falling in line with Leader of Evolution’s vision for student-athletes.

95.47% of NCAA student-athletes will not transition to the Professional or Olympic level, according to the NCAA.

That means at least 95.47% of NCAA student-athletes need the necessary skills to enter into the workforce immediately after graduating. Shepherd, having been a student-athlete and professional basketball player himself, pointed out in his presentation that this type of upskilling shouldn’t just start during a student-athlete’s senior year, but rather have a longitudinal focus over the course of their collegiate career. 

SU vs Boston College (Photos by Michael J. Okoniewski-SU Athletic Communications)

“We have a proven model that has worked in Australia at the elite athlete level, supported by technology that can accelerate the learning journey,” Shepherd said. “Understanding that skillsets are jumping borders, we have built a program that can effectively help student-athletes take that leap, as well as, educate the staff at these universities, equipping them with similar skill development to facilitate courses.” 

Not only is the workforce globalising, but the professional landscape is also popularising working remotely. By 2028 58% of the world’s economy will be remote workers. Shepherd’s work with Leaders of Evolution emphasises the importance of skills that translate into the global, remote workforce, not just the domestic workforce. 

“Traditional education needs to reconsider its model for learning as the world continues to rapidly change and that’s where we, Leaders of Evolution, come in to assist. We help make that change by fusing sound research and appropriate pedagogy, at an accelerated rate with the use of technology.” 

Jon Shepherd Leaders of Evolution Co-founder and Director

According to research from Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 74% of the projected 2030 workforce is ready to learn new skills to remain employable as technology and industries change. They see the need for better access to rapidly-changing skills and constant reskilling. Training student-athletes to be independent, autonomous life-long learners on top of their foundational skills learned from being an athlete prime them for success in the professional work world.

Shepherd’s presentation struck a chord with the audience, allowing for an engaging question segment that prompted poignant thoughts about the positive development that Leaders of Evolution can bring to college locker rooms; specifically, the customised partnership approach to Leaders of Evolution’s courses that integrate student voice from the bottom of the roster to the student-athlete advisory committee to the stakeholders and alumni in an organisation. 

Minnowbrook Summit 2020

“You want a full cross-segment of the students to ensure you have the key issues of the student-athlete body having a seat at the table,” Shepherd answered. “Ultimately, that is where learning is going, it’s self-regulated. Gen Z, Millennials are very comfortable being lifelong learners. It’s our role as educators to provide them with the technology and curriculum to be able to have that self-regulated learning experience.” 

Shepherd closed his presentation stressing to his audience the time is now to implement development programs that invite students to build their future skills and future-proof their career. 

“It’s our responsibility to position young people to be successful in the global workforce.” 

Jon Shepherd Leaders of Evolution Co-founder and Director

Multiple leaders in the collegiate athlete space felt that responsibility and pressure to give their student-athletes the best chances for being successful after graduation. Leaders of Evolution has connected with multiple colleges and universities in attendance for further discussions on how their personalised courses can benefit student-athletes. 

To learn more about Leaders of Evolution’s e-learning hub partnerships with NCAA colleges and universities, click here.  

student leadership, athlete development, Learning Management System

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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.

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Emma Henzes

Enjoys telling stories through digital media and loves to travel trying the local food. While she is out of her athletic prime, Emma still loves to stay in shape and watch live sporting events with her family and friends. If you can’t find her at her laptop working for Leaders of Evolution, she’s probably at the beach.

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