Microsoft, The Atlantic & National Journal Present “A New America: How Millennials are Sparking Change” town hall

On Dec. 6, Microsoft, in partnership with The Atlantic and National Journal, hosted the first in a series of traveling town halls to explore the opportunities, inclinations and impact of the millennial generation as it faces an increasingly connected world and competitive workplace.

“A New America: How Millennials Are Sparking Change” combines the knowledge of seasoned leaders with the ambitions of young iconoclasts who are changing the world from the outside in. This first conversation took place at California State University in Los Angeles, featuring leading thought-leaders, educators, government officials, entrepreneurs and students.

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Microsoft’s Fred Humphries kicks off “A New America: How Millennials Are Sparking Change” at California State University L.A.

Following welcome introductions from California State University L.A. Dr. William Covino, National Journal President Bruce Gottlieb and Microsoft Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs Fred Humphries, the event kicked off with a keynote interview between Ronald Brownstein, Atlantic Media Editorial Director and León Krauze, the host of Open Source on Fusion and news anchor of Univision KMEX in Los Angeles, and Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-C.A., addressing the great impact and potential of the millennial generation on the national and global economy.

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National Journal’s Ron Brownstein interviews Rep. Xavier Becerra on the potential of the millennial generation.

The keynote interview was followed by a robust panel focusing on best practices and solutions for improving science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and bolstering opportunities for millennials seeking to work in STEM fields. Panelists included: Dr. Emily Allen, Professor and Dean, College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, California State University, Los Angeles; Jessica Alvarenga, Former IMPACT NSF LA Fellow; Tara Chlovski, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Iridescent; Armando Diaz, Associate Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Venice; and Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido, California State Senate.

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Dr. Emily Allen, Professor and Dean, College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology, California State University, Los Angeles; Jessica Alvarenga, Former IMPACT NSF LA Fellow; Tara Chlovski, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Iridescent; Armando Diaz, Associate Executive Director, Boys and Girls Club of Venice; and Sen. Mark Wyland, R-Escondido, California State Senate; discuss importance of best practices for increasing STEM Education with National Journal’s Ron Brownstein.

The second panel brought together a group of diverse entrepreneurs and business experts exploring how technology provides both a platform for startups to grow and a democratic path to finding funding to finance them. The panel included: Rob Carpenter, Executive Director, Global Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship; Shahin Kohan, President, AIMS 360; Estelle Reyes, Executive Director, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; and Nick Ventura, Founder, inFORa CAUSE and Student, California State University, Los Angeles.

This event, on the eve of this week’s Computer Science Education Week, demonstrates the need to focus on increasing opportunities globally for youth and others that have a substantial impact on improving entrepreneurship, education, innovation and the future of the workforce. As many millennials face the current workforce and job market, they are faced with a pronounced skills gap. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that there will be approximately 122,300 new job openings in the U.S. each year requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science through the end of this decade, yet our universities are producing just over 50,000 bachelor’s degrees in this critical field.

The lack of emphasis on computer science in high school is of particular concern as our nation seeks to keep pace with our global competitors. Of the more than 42,000 high schools in the U.S., just 3,249 were certified to teach the Advanced Placement (AP) computer science course in 2013.

At Microsoft, we believe the public and private sectors must both play a role in solving these challenges. To do our part, we’ve launched Microsoft YouthSpark, a global initiative to connect young people with opportunities for education, employment and entrepreneurship. In its first year, YouthSpark empowered more than 100 million youth to imagine and build a better future for themselves and their communities.

The Dec. 6 event allowed us to address these concerns, challenges and passions facing the next generation, and was an opportunity to examine possible solutions moving forward. We look forward to partnering with The Atlantic and National Journal as the series continues across the country next year.

To learn more about the event, please visit http://www.nationaljournal.com/events/a-new-america-how-millennials-are-sparking-change-20131206 and join us online via the hashtag #MillennialPathways.

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Microsoft News Center Staff