Asian perspective on skills development topic of EBC Speaker Series

The next Engineering, Business, and Computing (EBC) Division Speaker Series Presentation will feature Dr. Sungsup Ra, Director of the Human and Social Development Division, South Asia Development, Asian Development Bank (ADB), who will present ?Opportunities and Challenges for Skills Development: Asian Perspective? on Friday, August 29, 2014, at 1 p.m. in room 121 Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building. This presentation is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.

The presentation identifies key trends over recent decades that shaped the global labor market. One of these trends is ?the great doubling??the global labor force doubled from 1.5 to 2.9 billion after People?s Republic of China and ex-Soviet bloc joined global economy in 1990s. As a result, the capital labor ratio was reduced to 61% of what it would have been before their joining the world economy. In addition, globalization increased international mobility of capital and labor; and the advancement of technology, particularly information and communication technology, has fundamentally changed how work is done. The new jobs being created more often require complex problem solving, independent judgment, and experience. With mobile technology, many jobs can be done virtually from other locations.

These trends led to dramatic changes in skills requirements, which in turn have significant implications to Asian developing countries in devising skills-development strategies. In order for Asian developing countries to capitalize on key trends, they have to overcome three main challenges: making skills-development an integral part of economic development and expanding access to middle and high level skills to move towards a high-productive, knowledge-based economy; boosting industry involvement in skills-development; and strengthening institutional capacity (policy, coordination, and quality assurance).

In addition, the presentation briefly introduces ADB?s overall strategy to support Asian developing countries in the skills development area.

Ra has been the Director of Human and Social Development Division, South Asia Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB) since January 2011. He is currently the Co-Chairperson of the Education Community of Practice of ADB. Since joining ADB in 2001, he worked as Director, Pacific Strategy and Special Operations, Pacific Department, Senior Advisor to the Managing Director General, and Deputy Country Directors, Bangladesh and Nepal Country Offices. Previously, Ra taught at leading universities in Japan, Korea, and the United States. He has a broad range of experience working with public and private entities such as Samsung and Korean National Pension. Author of more than 50 publications, he is a regular contributor to public debates in news media and conferences on current economic and human development issues. He holds a Doctorate Degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

The EBC Division Speaker Series features Penn State Berks faculty and visiting experts who conduct research on a wide variety of topics. Topics are of broad and general interest and are accessible to the non-expert.

For more information, contact either of the co-chairs for the EBC Division Speaker Series: Dr. Jui-Chi Huang, Assistant Professor of Economics, ([email protected]) or Dr. Ada Leung, Assistant Professor of Marketing ([email protected]).