MIT Sloan Action Learning


The American Divide: Can Good Jobs be a Bridge?

This course is motivated by concern about America’s deep divides – economic, cultural, social and geographic – and a determination to better understand the issues and uncover solutions. While the United States provides a focal point, as students grapple with the complexities of this country’s challenges, they will find universal themes that resonate across the globe. Peering through the lens of small towns and rural regions, students will challenge their own assumptions as they explore modern-day divides in the larger context of America’s ongoing struggle to balance diversity and the common good. Students will look at the present to assess whether this is a step along the path of America’s journey or a wrong turn.

The course is designed to broaden and deepen students’ understanding of the underlying circumstances that explain America’s divides. It is also designed to help students understand resiliency in the face of these circumstances and to examine the potential for “good companies” and “good jobs” to enhance resiliency. Student teams will work on-site with hosts during spring SIP and spring break (March 19-30, 2018). The host/team experiences are meant to be generative, co-learning opportunities as distinguished from “consultancies.”

Students will:

  • Gain a textured view of the concepts of community, place and the common good through readings, interviews and discussion of selected history, economics, art and literature
  • Develop a framework for good companies and good jobs as applied to firms and industrial sectors that are common in these regions
  • Assess how innovation, technology and globalization could improve regional conditions
  • Learn how to apply tools of teamwork, dialogue, collaboration, and coaching
  • Hone the skills of interacting with diverse stakeholders as they develop cultural and economic analysis of their host regions
  • Cultivate partnerships through engaged dialogue with their hosts throughout the course to develop an in-depth knowledge of the regions
  • Complete well-defined projects that are material to the progress of their host organizations
Contact Us

50 Memorial Drive
Building E52-333
Cambridge, MA 02139