2018 Western Pathways Conference Keynote Speaker Announcement - Thursday, May 31, Lunch Program

Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith will be speaking on Thursday, May 31st during the 2018 Western Pathways Conference Lunch Program. 



Brad Smith leads a team of more than 1,400 business, legal, and corporate affairs professionals in 55 countries. Joining Microsoft in 1993, he has played a leading role within Microsoft and in the IT sector on government surveillance, privacy, intellectual property, immigration and computer science education policy issues. He has also played a leadership role locally and nationally on numerous charitable, business and legal initiatives. 

View the Western Pathways Final Agenda

Western Pathways will feature three governors, Canada's Minister of Economic Development, Four University Presidents, and senior executives from LinkedIn, IBM, Walmart, Northrup Grumman, PwC and many more. 

Our interactive breakout sessions will include conversations on career development, managing the talent pipeline, closing the skills gap, working in rural communities and more! 

Learn from speakers representing government, business, education, and philanthropy about emerging labor markets, the future of work and how to create an effective pathways system in your state.


Featured Speakers

Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado

Governor Dennis Daugaard, South Dakota

Governor Steve Bullock, Montana

Allen Blue, Co-Founder & Vice President of Product Management, LinkedIn

Honorable Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Melody Schopp, Secretary of Education, South Dakota; President, Council of Chief State School Officers

David Scott, Senior Vice President for Talent & Organizational Effectiveness, Walmart

Cheryl Oldham, Senior Vice President, Center for Education and Workforce,  U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Western Pathways Breakout Sessions Released!

Our breakout sessions feature leading experts on innovative programs that work to prepare young adults for career success. How will you participate in changing the future of education and workforce development in your state and beyond? 

Breakout Session Titles

  1. Providing High-Quality Career Development
  2. Efforts to Scale Work-Based Learning

  3. Strategies for Unlocking the Potential of Opportunity Youth

  4. Growing the Talent Pipeline: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Effort to Close the Skills Gap

  5. Creating Effective Business-Education Partnerships

  6. The Growing Role of Technology in Providing Career Development

  7. Creating Pathways to Promising Careers in Retail, Construction & Hospitality

  8. Creating Innovative & Effective CTE Pathway Programs

  9. Addressing the Needs of Rural & Reservation Youth

  10. Identifying Credentials that have Real Value to Employers

  11. Developing State Policies that Drive Career Readiness

  12. Closing the Skills Gap in Cybersecurity & IT

  13. Statewide Efforts to Advance Workforce Development

  14. Building Strategic Partnerships Between Industry & Higher Education in Emerging Fields

  15. Achieving Transformative Change at the State Level: A Deeper Dive


New Keynote Speaker Announcements!

We are excited to announce new additions to our speaker lineup!

  • Allen Blue, Co-Founder, LinkedIn
  • Denise Peppard, Chief Human Resource Officer, Northrup Grumman Corporation
  • Melody Schopp, President, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Monique Rizer, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation

Solving difficult challenges often requires cross-sector collaboration. The Western Pathways Conference will provide unique perspectives from senior leaders in business, government, education, and the nonprofit sector.

What will the outcome be? Strategic State Action Plans that break down silos and address the most pressing problems in education and workforce development. 

Don't miss out on being a part of the solution!

Agenda Now Available!

The Agenda is now available! Explore Western Pathway's dynamic plenary presentations featuring some of the nation's leading voices in business, education, government & philanthropy.

You'll also learn about our interactive & informative pre-conference field trips to exemplary pathways programs in the Denver area. Space is limited, so sign up during registration to reserve your spot!

Make plans to attend one of our evening networking events and connect with other leaders from around the West. Exchange business cards during our Opening Networking Reception at the Conference venue. Want to explore the Denver restaurant scene at a discounted price? Connect with your counterparts in other states over dinner at your choice of participating restaurants in downtown Denver. Hot dogs more your style? Chat with other attendees at the ballpark while the Colorado Rockies take on the L.A. Dodgers. Save your spot by signing up during registration! 

Stay tuned for announcements on breakout sessions and state & program showcases!

Agenda Highlights

We are pleased to announce our first round of agenda highlights for the 2017 Western Pathways Conference!

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper
Montana Governor Steve Bullock

Opening Keynote Remarks

Matt Sigelman, CEO, Burning Glass Technologies
followed by Business Leaders Panel
Emerging Labor Market Trends in the West

Joe Garcia, President, Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education
Former Lieutenant Governor, Colorado

Why We Need Multiple Pathways to Success

Governors Panel
moderated by Jim Ogsbury, Executive Director, Western Governors' Association

Colorado Workforce Development Council
Presentation on Colorado's Nationally Recognized Workforce Development System

Full agenda coming soon...stay tuned!

Get Involved in a State Team!

Members of the State Team will work together collaboratively before, during and after the Western Pathways Conference to develop a realistic State Action Plan for improving their state’s pathways system. The goal is to develop a plan that will prepare more young adults for career success, to increase student engagement and achievement, and to address the pressing skills gaps faced by businesses within your state.

Eight states have already confirmed that they will bring cross-sector teams to the Western Pathways Conference and we expect many more to join them. This is a great opportunity to align the efforts of key stakeholders in your state & develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing education & workforce development challenges. Click below to sign up!

Get Involved

Learn More About State Teams