Air Date

January 14, 2021

Featured Guest

Ashli Watts
President and CEO, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce


Neil Bradley
Executive Vice President, Chief Policy Officer, and Head of Strategic Advocacy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


Many individuals across the nation are now unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a major issue our country is facing is a lack of skilled professionals in the workforce. To bridge this gap, our local, state and federal levels of government must implement domestic policies to train unemployed workers so they can match these open positions, as well as develop talent pipeline management initiatives.

Many States Are Implementing Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) Initiatives

There are many domestic policies looking to address inequalities in the workforce, with 33 U.S. states already initiating talent pipeline management practices. For example, Kentucky's TPM program is an employer-led system that helps build talent needed for future jobs. This initiative has pulled 27 industry collaboratives all across the state from various industries to work together and forecast future jobs. From there, they’ve worked with the education community to ensure up-and-coming workers have the appropriate knowledge and talent to fill those roles.

TPM’s main goal has been to equip workers with the necessary skills to bridge employment gaps. This has become increasingly important amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has displaced countless jobs across various industries.

Ashli Watts, president and CEO of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, noted that even though no one could have foreseen the pandemic, through this TPM program, collaboratives were able to come together to use each other’s data and work as a specific industry, from construction to administrative services, to create a solid workforce.

“Throughout the pandemic, they also had each other to rely on to ask questions about and talk about how one business was doing across different parts of the state,” said Watts. “They … had their mini associations where we could make connections and have solutions within those groups.”

Both Political Parties Are Finding Common Ground With TPMs

While Watts was confident in Kentucky’s TPM initiative, she wasn’t sure if it would last once the contract expired. Originally, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce had an agreement about creating and maintaining TPM practices with their state government, which started in 2018. However, when a new governor took over and heard of the initiative, he immediately decided to renew the contract and continue the initiative.

“It's just a really nice program that we have,” Watts said. “We work with both sides of the aisle, work with [the] state government to really make sure that our talent and our workforce needs of tomorrow are met.”