SESSION LEADERS

Thank you for joining us as a Session Leader!

Please review the Session Leader Orientation video prior to your session at HOPE Global Forums:

The HOPE Global Forums are a community of events that serve as a call to action: to inspire innovation and thought leadership towards an inclusive global economy that works for everyone. With over 3,700 delegates from 45 countries, our Annual Meeting is now the largest and most prestigious gathering in the world on behalf of empowering the poor.

As a Session Leader, you are a qualified and experienced industry expert, tapped to facilitate a 30-minute table conversation around the topic area of your assigned Idea Lab. You are key to facilitating input on the issues, sharing successful strategies and structuring recommendations and partnerships.

As a Session Leader, you will have the opportunity to engage in authentic dialogue with passionate, open-minded peers who believe in the power of ideas to change the world. You’ll have the opportunity to test your ideas for the future, and you’ll be challenged to positively impact your community and empower those around you in new ways.

Due to overwhelming interest, our registration for Session Leaders is closed. If you would still like to be considered, please add yourself to the waitlist by emailing Jennifer Lutz at jennifer.lutz@operationhope.org

IDEA LABS

Tuesday, March 27th

INVESTING IN HUMAN CAPITAL
(After lunch session)

Our Disappearing Workforce: Solving an Economic Mystery

 

Over the past year, the number of working-age Americans who have dropped out of the workforce has risen by 1.5 million. There are now 102 million Americans over the age of 16 who are not working. Italy was the only OECD country which had a lower participation rate of prime age men than the United States. In fact, America’s prime age men are working at the lowest numbers since the Great Depression.

During a typical recovery, workers who have been laid off or could not find adequate employment are absorbed back into the workforce. Yet the longer this recovery lasts, the larger the number of nonparticipants in the labor market. As a consequence, a smaller percentage of Americans are working now that at any time since the 1970’s.

The result: fewer workers means a smaller economy. It means fewer people producing fewer goods and services for fewer people to consume. A variety of factors are at play: a disconnect between the jobs available and the skillset of job seekers, Baby Boomers reaching retirement age, the opioid crisis, rates of incarceration, a surplus of degreed millennials, and the decline of the manufacturing economy.

How can we ensure our workforce is adequately trained to fill the jobs of the future? How can we rejuvenate the communities hollowed out by lost manufacturing jobs? What can be done to reintegrate men? To support the sectors generating job growth?

A New Urban Reality: The Gentrification Dilemma

 

Cities have long been neglected and viewed as havens for poverty and crime, with dilapidated structures and abandoned property remnants of an economy that transitioned from manufacturing to services. Industries no longer needed central city locations and found cheaper land outside the city and workers willing to travel thanks to improved transportation and telecommunications systems.

Today, companies and individuals are flocking back to urban environments in droves. Living and working in cities is once again a viable option as trends of suburbanization are rapidly reversing. Cheap land, unique and historic buildings, proximity to transportation hubs and existing infrastructure have all contributed to the migration back to cities. Advocates of gentrification point to the benefits of high-paying jobs, increased real estate values, higher tax revenue and increased spending for goods and services.

Detractors note that the influx of newcomers are wealthier and more powerful than current residents. With them comes the money to improve housing and the physical environment, often creating improvements that the past residents fought hard for but could not afford to do or lacked the political power to secure. Many are feeling pushed out of their own communities due to increased housing prices and overall cost of living.

How can longtime residents participate in the current revitalization? Does gentrification really solve problems or just conceal them? How can increased economic activity become inclusive to the majority of residents?

 

The Great Reset: Rebooting Domestic Migration

 

When examining the health of local and national economies, we typically focus on employment and income data. Another critical indicator worth closer attention is where we choose to move, where we are leaving and what happens when we stop moving.

Historically, America has been a place where uprooting one’s family and life in search of greater opportunities was a norm, if not embedded in our national DNA. During the Gold Rush, Depression and the great post-World War II expansion, millions of Americans left their hometowns for places where they could earn more and provide a better life for their children.

But domestic mobility has fallen in recent years. While 3.6% of the population moved to a different state between 1952 and 1953, that number had fallen to 1.5% between 2015 and 2016. The share of people who move at all, even within the same county, has fallen too, from 20% in 1947 to 11.2% today.

However, it was not simply moving that mattered – it was that they moved to specific areas that were growing. When farming jobs were plentiful in the Midwest during the early 1900’s, people moved there. Iowa and Missouri were more populous than California. Black men who moved North from South earned at least 100% more than those who stayed.

For most of the 20th century, a janitor and a lawyer could earn more living in New York than in the South. As people moved, they decreased labor supply in the regions they left, driving up wages there and tightening them in the markets they moved to. This effect increased wage growth in poorer areas faster than in rich areas for much of the last century.

But over the past 20 years, this trend has slowed, meaning people are not migrating fast enough to richer areas to bring wages down, and populations are not declining fast enough in poorer areas to bring wages up. This has led to a stratification of America, where the highly-skilled and wealthy live in high-cost, amenity-filled cities and the rest are increasingly stuck in places with few opportunities.

Why is this? Why have people stopped moving? How can exorbitant housing costs in high-opportunity areas be offset? How can we expand opportunity in lower-growth regions?

 

 

 

 

An Era of Epidemics: Assessing the Economic Impact

A series of ongoing epidemics have reached a tipping point, having real economic consequences that are impacting employers, families and communities. The opioid crisis alone is responsible for 170 overdose deaths a day, more than 64,000 in 2016 alone, and is primarily affecting prime working age men. Upwards of 20% of job applicants are rejected because they cannot pass a pre-employment drug screen.

 

Currently in the U.S., 1.1 million prime age working men are in prison and over 9 million prime working age men have been incarcerated, with few options for economic self-sufficiency upon release. The burden on U.S. taxpayers to maintain this system is staggering: $80 billion a year nationwide, with a per inmate price tag of $60,000 a year in California and $167,000 in New York City, exceeding what most Americans earn.

 

Diabetes has become a major public health problem that is approaching epidemic proportions worldwide. About 18 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease, of which diabetes and hypertension are major predisposing factors. More than 1.7 billion adults worldwide are overweight, with 312 million of them obese.

 

As we look to combat these epidemics, are there more humane and economically sensible systems to consider? What policies and practices are contributing to the current crises? What successful strategies have been deployed? How can impacted communities and stakeholders better collaborate?

 

An Era of Epidemics: Assessing the Economic Impact

 

A series of ongoing epidemics have reached a tipping point, having real economic consequences that are impacting employers, families and communities. The opioid crisis alone is responsible for 170 overdose deaths a day, more than 64,000 in 2016 alone, and is primarily affecting prime working age men. Upwards of 20% of job applicants are rejected because they cannot pass a pre-employment drug screen.

Currently in the U.S., 1.1 million prime age working men are in prison and over 9 million prime working age men have been incarcerated, with few options for economic self-sufficiency upon release. The burden on U.S. taxpayers to maintain this system is staggering: $80 billion a year nationwide, with a per inmate price tag of $60,000 a year in California and $167,000 in New York City, exceeding what most Americans earn.

Diabetes has become a major public health problem that is approaching epidemic proportions worldwide. About 18 million people die every year from cardiovascular disease, of which diabetes and hypertension are major predisposing factors. More than 1.7 billion adults worldwide are overweight, with 312 million of them obese.

As we look to combat these epidemics, are there more humane and economically sensible systems to consider? What policies and practices are contributing to the current crises? What successful strategies have been deployed? How can impacted communities and stakeholders better collaborate?

 

Unleashing Innovation: Credit for the Poor reimagined with FICO

 

Access to credit is an important means of providing people the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. It fuels the dreams and aspirations of people who want to purchase a home or car, start a business or pay for higher education. All of these factors are foundational elements for increased social mobility and in turn, create the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs while expanding access to middle- and upper-class opportunities.

Yet many people in poor and minority communities – regardless of their creditworthiness – find credit hard to come by, making the climb out of poverty extremely difficult. Weak credit options force many working families into a disastrous cycle of short-term, high interest loans in order to sustain themselves.

A poor credit score inhibits the ability to access the basic requirements needed to succeed in today’s society. Credit scoring is used by employers, landlords, auto dealers and internet and cell phone providers to mitigate risk. A poor credit score can cut off access to work, housing, transportation and communication. Communities with a low credit score average typically align with lower quality of life indicators: poorly performing schools, higher crime rates, lack of thriving retail options, higher mortality rates.

Credit markets for the poor are underdeveloped because lenders are unwilling to take risks on issuing credit or only do so at exorbitant interest rates. How challenging are the lending markets in LMI communities? What can be done to improve access to credit for disadvantaged groups? Why have programs that facilitate small business development done little to reduce poverty? Can moving credit scores in LMI communities cascade outward to improve overall quality of life?

 

Wednesday, March 28th

A NEW ECONOMIC MODEL
(After lunch session)

When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact: Thriving in an Automated Economy

 

We are in the midst of a new industrial revolution – and this time around we will have to work with our machines, not just control them, in order to succeed. These new machines will continue to be integrated into the workplace, replacing humans in thousands of jobs in every sector of the economy.

Once only imaginable in the realm of science fiction, today’s machines are performing surgeries, flipping burgers and navigating cars through rush-hour traffic. Science fiction is now science fact.

The rise of robots has been greeted with a mixture of awe and skepticism. Will these machines become massive job killers that decimate our workforce? Estimates predict that 83% of jobs making less than $20/hr. are endangered by automation, as opposed to 31% making $20-$40 and only 4% for those making above $40/hr.

Since the late 1970’s, productivity growth has not translated to higher wages for low- and middle-income workers. Additionally, the wage premium for college-education skilled labor has continually increased. This creates an incentive for business to invest in technologies that raise the productivity of lower-skilled workers, accelerating automation in the workplace.

How will AI and robotics alter the substance of the jobs that will remain in place? Can a hybrid team of humans and computers be better than a homogenous group of either? What will the impact be on low wage workers? How can we prepare a workforce to thrive in the new economic reality? What can be done to increase economic inclusion?

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Igniting Small Business: Can the Entrepreneur Jumpstart the Economy?

 

 

We often look to the huge, multinational corporations as the drivers and guardians of our economy, when in reality it is small business that is the prime force for innovation, job creation and GDP growth. Of the nearly 6 million employers in the U.S., firms with fewer than 500 workers account for 99.7% of those businesses. Small business startups are responsible for creating 7 out of every 10 new jobs, totaling 3 million new jobs annually.

In our rapidly changing economy, small business and entrepreneurship should be able to thrive in the face of globalization, technological change and automation. However, fewer small businesses are starting and more are failing now than in the last 40 years. Given the importance of small business to economic growth, how can we jumpstart the entrepreneur to in turn jumpstart the economy?

What are the conditions that small businesses need now to succeed? How do we get startups to “scale up”? Under what conditions can entrepreneurs innovate? What kind of jobs can entrepreneurs create to spur economic growth? How can we encourage and strengthen women and minority-owned businesses?

 

Where Do We Go From Here? Healing the Cultural Divide

 

Two thirds of rural Americans say people in big cities hold values different than theirs, and nearly half of urban Americans say the same thing about their rural counterparts. The political divide between rural and urban America is as much cultural as it is economic, even though they share much of the same fears and concerns about their economic future.

Urban/rural disconnects ultimately center on fairness: who wins and loses in the new American economy, who deserves the most help and whether the government shows preferential treatment to certain types of people.

A tremendous amount of anger is currently fueled by economic frustration. Rural America laments a life they once had and lost, with little hope of getting back. Urban America remains surrounded by persistent poverty and a widening disconnect between the haves and have not’s. Rural America feels they have been marginalized and viewed by urban elitists as “below the line” people. Urban America feels its diversity threatened, while absorbing the blame for someone else’s economic insecurity.

Yet despite the widening cultural gap, the two America’s have much in common in terms of economic challenges. While levels of rural poverty in the 1950’s and 60’s were often double those in urban areas, that gap has closed to less than a 2% differential. Contrary to common assumptions, substantial shares of the poor are employed, with nearly half of poor, prime-age (25-54) individuals working in both rural and urban areas. While metropolitan areas have a reputation for innovation, rural areas have higher numbers of startups and boast better business survival rates.

Both sides are also united by a feeling of “not being heard”: the companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system that governs us all seem to have grown less accountable. “They” don’t care; our voices don’t count.

Businesses treat employees as disposable, replacing full-time jobs with part-time work and cutting wages, because they can – most working people have no other alternative. Consumers feel mistreated and taken for granted because they, too, have less choice. We now have just 4 major airlines and 88% of Americans are served by just one internet service provider. Banks, health insurers, digital platforms are now gigantic. Even politicians face less and less competition, with 97% of congressional districts considered safe for the incumbents.

Are we able to bridge the cultural divide? How can we reconnect our institutions with individuals? What could rally us around our common interests? What policy solutions can support growth in both rural and urban communities?

Fin Tech in Focus: Can Fin Tech Increase Inclusion?

 

According to the World Bank, there are 2 billion people in the world who currently have no access to banking services. In the context of financial inclusion, financial technology holds boundless potential. As new tools and technologies are developed, and old business models are challenged, financial services can be delivered to more people with greater speed, accountability and efficiency.

Access to financial products and services is becoming more attainable than ever, especially for individuals living in rural locations or regions with the structures of a modern economy. Not only can fin tech make these products and services more accessible, it can make them more affordable by lowering the cost of doing business for the financial institution. Couple this with the near ubiquitous availability of affordable cell phones and cellular accessibility, a future where no one is excluded from the financial system may not be far out of reach.

In 2014, investment in fin tech companies rose more than 200%. After leveling off in 2016 due to maturation of the industry, investment hit record highs globally in 2017. What’s driving this momentum and can it be sustained? What are the impacts to date? What are the frictions between startups, legacy institutions and regulators and how can the relationship move toward collaboration? What are the barriers to universal financial inclusion?

Higher Education: The Next Big Disruption

 

For much of the past century, we have been brought up to believe that a college degree is a ticket to a better life. Although a secondary education is supposed to be our engine of social mobility, it is in need of a serious tune-up.

U.S higher education has a product that does not work, ridiculous costs and an antiquated business model. We continue to accept this because we see tremendous societal value in education.

College graduates are much more likely to climb the economic ladder, earning twice as much over the course of a lifetime as those without a degree. However, this only benefits those who complete their degree, and very few low-income people make it though. Now, most middle and upper-class parents find they cannot afford to give their children the education they enjoyed.

Cost is the number one reason why people do not go to college, and it’s the main reason why they drop out. Many of those who do get a degree are saddled with burdensome debt. Student debt now exceeds consumer debt in the United States.

How did we get here? The high value society places on education coupled with abundant, government subsidized financing have driven steady demand despite soaring prices. Technology has recently accelerated this debate, as online education works and dramatically improves costs and more importantly, expands access. This provides a substantial opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors, companies seeking low-cost learning and development options and individuals looking to obtain a degree.

The great paradox we face in the 21st century economy is that we desperately need an educated workforce to fill jobs that are increasingly skilled and technological; yet we are making earning a college degree less attainable. Are we now at a tipping point where the economic stakes are so high that they will drive change? Can parents find new ways to educate their children and enable them to achieve professional success? Will a technology-driven revolution radically transform the higher education business model?

IDEA LAB PROGRAM FLOW

Time Allotted Purpose Actions
5 min Context Setting Welcome and set expectations for Idea Lab
30 min Panel Discussion Subject Matter experts weigh in. Participants submit questions to panelists
30 min Table Discussion* Participants discuss issues, propose “Big Ideas” solutions for group conversation
20 min Results Share 5 ‘Big Idea’ results with group
5 min Wrap-Up Wrap-Up and next steps

90 minutes total
* Session Leader Responsibility 

WHO ATTENDS?

Attendees comprise an eclectic slate of stakeholders from across the spectrum of our integrated global economy. Last year, the corporate, financial, governmental, technology, academic, nonprofit, startup, diplomatic, philanthropic, media and faith-based sectors were all represented. Over 3,200 thought leaders and influencers representing over 25 countries attended.

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