Skills for America’s Future Expands Commitment from Discovery Communications

August 23, 2011

Contact: Karen Elzey
Director, Skills for America’s Future
The Aspen Institute
202-736-1079 | [email protected]

Discovery Communications Premieres PSAs, Partners with Community Colleges
 as Part of Skills for America’s Future Effort

Silver Spring, MD, August 23, 2011 –– Skills for America’s Future, a national initiative to connect employers with community colleges to provide 21st century skills to American workers, today announced an expansion of its partnership with Discovery Communications, the world’s top nonfiction media company. As part of a commitment to the Skills for America’s Future effort, Discovery will air public service announcements (PSAs) highlighting career opportunities in skilled trades (view the PSAs here: www.DiscoverYourSkills.com or http://impact.discovery.com) and will work directly with Montgomery College to help students acquire skills that will better position them in the labor market.

The details of Discovery’s expanded partnership with Skills for America’s Future, including the newly launched “Discover Your Skills” multimedia initiative, were announced at an event today at Montgomery College. The event included leaders such as U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley.

“With their ‘Discover Your Skills’ initiative, Discovery Communications has shown a true commitment to helping Americans obtain the information and skills they need to succeed in our changing economy,” said Penny Pritzker, Advisory Board Chair of Skills for America’s Future, the Aspen Institute. “The information provided on-air and online and the career advancement opportunities for community college students are fantastic examples of how businesses and educational institutions can bring their strengths to the table to help create economic growth and success in the workforce.”

“Discovery Communications is proud to partner nationally with Skills for America’s Future and locally with Montgomery College to leverage the real-world experience and expertise of our on-air personalities and employees, as well as the reach and resources of Discovery Education, to help address the growing gap between the needs of employers and the skills of America’s workforce, which is critical to helping lower unemployment and boosting our overall economy,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery Communications and a member of the Skills for America’s Future Advisory Board.

The partnership between Discovery Communications and Skills for America’s Future will take the form of “Discover Your Skills,” a multimedia initiative to provide unemployed and underemployed Americans access to critical resources for obtaining marketable job skills and expertise, and to raise awareness of career opportunities. This initiative includes www.DiscoverYourSkills.com, a website that compiles links and information as resources to educate and prepare people for the workforce. In addition, Discovery’s on-air personalities are starring in PSAs to raise awareness about career opportunities and highlight the importance of the training and skills necessary to fill these jobs. The PSAs released today are the first three installments out of eight that will begin airing on August 29, 2011 across Discovery’s U.S. networks.

As an expanded commitment to the Skills for America’s Future effort, Discovery is also partnering with Montgomery College, using the company’s leadership and expertise in the workforce to help students develop marketable skills. Opportunities for learning within the partnership will include guest lectures from Discovery Communications executives, internships and training on resume development and interview skills. The Discovery Education division, the leading provider of digital educational content to U.S. K-12 schools, will be introducing a community college service for the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to its subscription offering, Discovery Education will work with like-minded companies to develop additional resources that will be available to community colleges across the country at no cost.

Skills for America’s Future, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, is a non-partisan partnership of businesses and community colleges. Its purpose is to address the dual problems of high unemployment and the difficulty many employers face in finding workers with the right skills by connecting employers to community colleges and workforce partners so students can be better equipped with the skills necessary to find and retain jobs in a 21st century economy. Announced in October 2010 by President Obama, the effort had already received commitments from some of the nation’s leading employers including Accenture, Discovery Communications, Gap, Inc., McDonald’s, the Manufacturing Institute, Motorola Solutions, Pacific Gas & Electric, UPS, and United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. 

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