WIRED Nation

Submitted by Betsey Merkel on Sun, 02/03/2008 - 08:21.

Here is an e-mail from Ed Morrison inviting/summarizing the WIRED Nation, a result of the collaboration between the Dept of Labor, I-Open, and Near-Time.net.

What can we learn, replicate, and continue to apply from this model to accelerate our economic development work here in NEO?

Go to Wired Nation and join to learn more.

Dear <<First Name>>:

This morning we launched Wired Nation (http://wired-nation.net), a new
initiative to build connections across Wired regions. First a word of
introduction: I am Ed Morrison, economic policy adviser at the Purdue
Center for Regional Development. I have been working on the Wired
region in North Central Indiana and with the Department of Labor on
different Wired Academies.

I'd like to enlist your help and guidance in building Wired Nation.
But before I go into how we might be able to collaborate, I wanted to
remind us all of some stark realities that we face:


-- As 70 million baby boomers exit the workforce in the next 15 years,
only 40 million people will enter the workforce.

-- In a nation that needs 114,000 engineering graduates each year, we
graduate about 65,000.

-- Nationally, due to the shortage of math and science teachers, more
than half of all eighth-grade students receive math and science
instruction from a teacher who neither holds a mathematics degree nor
is certified in mathematics.

-- Our high school graduation rate of 76% ranks 20th out of 26
industrialized countries.

-- The US graduation rate for bachelor’s and master’s programs is
34.2%, which ranks 16th out of 26 industrialized countries.

-- The US and Greece were the only industrialized nations (out of 30)
to show no gain in graduation and attainment rates since 2000.

In sum: we face some daunting global challenges. At the same time, in
meeting these challenges, we can rely on each other. We are all
wearing the same jersey.

Wired Nation is a new approach to building collaboration and
leveraging our investments in Wired. In each of our regions, exciting
transformations are taking place. People are connecting in new and
different ways. Make no mistake. We are starting to change the
dynamics of education, economic development and workforce development.
We are moving beyond blame to opportunity.

In twenty years of working in regional economic development, I have
never seen anything like it.

In the weeks and months ahead, we can move even faster. Here's how:

1. We can contribute stories, resources, and connections to Wired
Nation. It's remarkably easy to do. If you can use e-mail, you can use
Wired Nation and post directly to the web.

2. We can encourage our networks to work with us to continue building
Wired Nation. New Web 2.0 tools enable us to share all sorts of
content, including audio and video easily. Post new content in minutes
and hours, not weeks and months.

3. We can look for new opportunities to "spin-out" smaller
collaborative networks. Next week, we have a new community forming in
biosciences. Soon, clean energy and advanced manufacturing/logistics
will follow. Are there others? Powerful new search capabilities helps
us filter content to find new connections quickly.

We have lined up an effective partnership to launch Wired Nation in
less than a month. We have a solid technology partner in Near-Time, a
leading Web 2.0 firm.  They provide to us a leading edge, simple-to-
use and powerful platform on which to build Wired Nation.

We have enlisted the help of a non-profit organization, I-Open (http://i-open.org
) to help us with staffing. My colleagues Purdue Center for Regional
Development (http://purdue.edu/pcrd) have offered their support with
content and ideas. The Department of Labor has responded
enthusiastically to our requests for help. We will continue to build
these partnerships in the coming weeks and months.

We have an extraordinary opportunity ahead of us, and I look forward
to connecting with each of you to explore how we can work together to
deliver the messages, models and tools of collaboration, innovation
and transformation.

Please feel free to call me any time if you have suggestions or

Ed Morrison

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