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Last week the administration launched what it termed “the next step” in its economic agenda: a sweeping, administration-wide effort to equip the American workforce to succeed in the modern economy. To propel this initiative forward, it is seeking advice and cooperation from leaders in business and education. Our message at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is simple: Count us in. We look forward to continuing our work with the administration on this issue of critical importance to the entire business community.
As part of its new initiative, the administration will create the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, which will be composed of a diverse group of leaders from outside the administration. It secured signatures from numerous businesses on a Pledge to the American Worker—a commitment to invest in the training and retraining of workers for the rapidly evolving jobs of today and tomorrow. Many businesses are already engaged in the workforce training movement, and the Chamber has spent years helping expand and drive their work.
The Chamber has attacked the skills gap by focusing on employer leadership and closing what we call “the communications gap.” For far too long, businesses have struggled to inform education providers and the public about the skills, competencies, and credentials they need. As a result, educators often failed to offer the right courses, and workers failed to earn the necessary degrees and certifications to obtain jobs. On top of that, government was underperforming in its role as a leader and partner. Today, all of that is changing.
One of our great successes, through the U.S. Chamber Foundation, has been the launch of a program called Talent Pipeline Management (TM) (TPM). It facilitates partnerships between businesses and education providers. Since we launched it four years ago, more than 1,000 employers in 26 states have engaged in the program. Building on this work, the Foundation recently announced a partnership with Google.org and others designed to match people and jobs using data to improve job postings and better communicate which skills are needed.
Now, thanks to the leadership of the Trump administration, government is stepping up as an increasingly valuable partner and coordinator in the ongoing effort to solve our workforce challenges. The business community is grateful for the president’s leadership on this issue, and the Chamber looks forward to working with all stakeholders to create a future where businesses can find the workers to fill open positions—and the workers can find jobs to achieve their American Dream.