In the Workplace with Peter Cappelli and Dan O'Meara

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The Gift of Global Talent

Season 2019, Ep. 15

We live in a political climate that instantly heats up around the topic of immigration, job displacement, visa granting, and so on. In this episode, William Kerr teaches hosts Peter Cappelli about why international talent is a gift to our society.


William Kerr is the D’Arbeloff Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Bill is the co-director of Harvard’s Managing the Future of Work initiative and the faculty chair of the Launching New Ventures program for executive education. Bill is a recipient of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Prize Medal for Distinguished Research in Entrepreneurship and Harvard's Distinction in Teaching award. Bill’s recent book is The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society (2018). It explores the global race for talent and how countries and businesses compete for high-skilled migrants. The book reveals how immigration has transformed U.S. innovation, reshaped the economy through the rise of talent clusters and superstar firms, and influenced society at large in positive and adverse ways. The book argues that America, and the world, can get more out of global talent flows with sensible reforms. The Managing the Future of Work project considers the unprecedented set of challenges and opportunities presented to businesses, including rapid technological revolutions, shifting global product and labor markets, aging workforces, and growing skills gaps. These forces change the ways that businesses compete with each other and engage workers. This multi-faculty project identifies how companies, schools, workers and the public sector can come together to manage the challenging transitions ahead as the nature of work is radically transformed. The initiative produces leading research on these themes and disseminates to broader audiences through platforms like the MFW podcast series.


Bill’s broader research centers on how companies and economies explore new opportunities and generate growth. He considers the leadership and resources necessary to identify, launch and sustain dynamic and enduring organizations. He works with companies worldwide on the development of new ventures and transformations for profitable growth. He also advises governments about investments in the innovative capacities of their nations.

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The Collegiate Cover

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Irwin S. Kirsch is the Director of the Center for Global Assessment at Educational Testing Service. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Measurement, Reading/Literacy from the University of Delaware in 1982. Since joining ETS in 1984, he has directed a number of large-scale assessments in the area of literacy including the National Adult Literacy Survey, and the NAEP Young Adult Literacy Survey. He was also a key person in establishing the International Adult Literacy Surveys and has directed them for ETS since 1993. In 1987, he received the ETS Research Scientist Award for his work in the area of literacy and was named as an ETS Distinguished Presidential Appointee in 1999. Kirsch currently manages several large-scale surveys including the Adult Education Program Study with the U.S. Department of Education and the Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Program with the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. Kirsch also chairs the Reading Expert Group for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and has been involved with several efforts aimed at defining and measuring information and communication technology (ICT) skills. In this area, he has directed an international panel for ETS that defined ICT literacy, has designed and conducted a feasibility study on ICT literacy for the OECD, and participates on an OECD advisory panel aimed at establishing a new survey of adult skills for the 21st century.