September 5, 2023 – Future of Work

Forbes BrandVoice partnership aims to change mindset about work and learning


Stand Together, a philanthropic community the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) is part of, is partnering with Forbes to highlight the importance of lifelong learning and the value it provides to individuals, employers, and our society. 

The partnership will amplify this key conversation. With CKF, Stand Together and its community of organizations, which are dedicated to helping the country’s boldest changemakers tackle the root causes of our country’s biggest problems, will share written, video, and other multimedia content on the BrandVoice platform over the next six months.

By unlocking purpose, learning honors dignity of each individual

Part of CKF and the Stand Together community’s mission is to transform the U.S. postsecondary education and workforce systems to meet the individualized needs of learners throughout their lifetimes and help each person discover their purpose and realize their full potential. 

CKF Executive Director Ryan Stowers penned the inaugural piece for the Forbes platform, articulating the power of lifelong learning. 

“Anyone who has ever started a new job has likely experienced the challenge and the incredible satisfaction that comes with learning,” wrote Stowers. “Whether it is learning to master new skills, engage with new co-workers, or understand a new industry, learning produces character, growth, and joy. It reveals the power each of us has to create, to do, and to improve.”

More concretely, lifelong learning:

  • Encourages individuals to identify their talents, aptitudes, and interests;  
  • Helps individuals gain the knowledge and values necessary to turn their talents into valued skills; and      
  • Provides opportunities for people to use their skills to experience success through mutual benefit.  

With lifelong learning, employers can help people self-actualize

The United States is stuck in an antiquated framework when it comes to postsecondary education. Too many people believe learning stops, or at least slows down substantially, after a diploma or a degree is earned.

This outdated mindset is preventing people from self-actualizing, or from reaching their full potential or identifying their purpose.

It is time for a paradigm shift led, in part, by employers.  

“By embracing the lifelong learning mindset, employers not only help individual people — they improve their own bottom lines,” wrote Stowers. “In fact, by facilitating lifelong learning, employers help sustain the engaged, committed workforce they need to serve their customers.”

CKF supports organizations like SHRM, Opportunity@Work, and others that are developing tools that will help employers help more Americans live, work, and learn at the same time. The Forbes BrandVoice partnership will highlight those tools and demonstrate how employers can embrace a new mindset surrounding work and learning.

Without change, workforce participation will continue to decline and the country’s ability to innovate will diminish, advised Stowers. He concluded, “We have a choice: continue with a top-down system that does not benefit learners or the employers who want to hire them or work together to make sure the spark of learning never wanes.”

Read Stowers’ column