November 10, 2021


Washington, D.C. — As America faces its biggest labor shortage in decades, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today announced $6.3 million in grant funding from Walmart, Lumina Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Charles Koch Foundation to support programs that remove barriers to work and enable Americans to find and keep jobs, and that ensure the economy has the workforce it needs to grow and prosper now and in the future. 

"This worker shortage is a crisis that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and a broken workforce training system," said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Center for Education and Workforce. "Our focus at the Center for Education and Workforce is on mobilizing the business community to tackle the most pressing issues facing American workers, students and on-the-job learners, and this investment in our programs and expertise enhances our ability to support our country's economic success at such a critical time." 

Collectively, the funding will bolster several key U.S. Chamber Foundation workforce initiatives including Talent Pipeline Management (TPM), the T3 Innovation Network, and Talent Finance. These initiatives directly address three major gaps in the nation’s talent marketplace: ensuring that workers are developing the right skills to meet employer needs, helping employers use data to match the right people with the right jobs, and connecting learners and workers with more affordable tools to pay for education and skills training. 

The funding will support the expansion of the TPM Academy, which trains business, workforce, and economic development leaders to help them build scalable, sustainable pipelines of talent that align with employers’ specific needs. This investment will allow academies to move from solely in-person to a new virtual training platform that enables the Foundation to provide a unique learning experience and credentialing on a national scale. In addition, the grant funding will be used to create specialized TPM Academies that bring together community colleges, employer partners, and TPM practitioners in select cities to make training more accessible for underrepresented workers and learners, and prepare them with job-ready skills for in-demand employment opportunities. 

This investment will aid in improving data about jobs, skills, and learning as well as how that data is shared between educators, learners, and employers in furtherance of education, career exploration, hiring, and career advancement. The grant funding will also support initiatives that promote new ways to pay for education and skills training that are more affordable, result in less debt, and improve education and employment outcomes. 

“America’s future depends on the strength and competitiveness of our workforce, and we are grateful to our partners for these important and timely grants, and for entrusting the Foundation to build smart solutions that address the urgency and complexity of the crisis,” said Carolyn Cawley, president, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

For more information about the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s workforce initiatives, visit

Learn how the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Chamber Foundation’s America Works initiative is helping companies and our country address the workforce shortage at