This week at the Clinton Global Initiative-America (CGI-America) jobs and economic recovery covening in Chicago, the National Skills Coalition, Skills for America’s Future, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and Corporate Voices for Working Families announced the creation of Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships. Business Leaders United is an initiative to bring diverse business leaders together to help shape a national skills strategy that can address structural skill shortages that are putting the brakes on economic recovery and job creation.
There couldn’t be a better time or greater need for such a group. Congress cut $1 billion from the federal workforce system in FY2011, and is looking at even deeper cuts in FY2012. At the same time, study after study is pointing out that we still have a skills gap–that up to 2 million jobs may be unfilled despite the recession–because our workforce is inadequately trained.
Business leadership is needed more than ever to speak to the importance of an appropriately skilled and trained workforce to spur growth and competitiveness.
The new Business Leaders initiative, whose first investor is the Joyce Foundation, will wisely bring businesses to the table as partners in training delivery and in shaping workforce policy. The initiative’s goals are to:
- Expand the number of these partnerships by more than 30 percent across 50 states.
- Facilitate conversations between local business leaders and federal policymakers about how private, philanthropic, and public dollars can be leveraged to replicate and sustain these partnerships nationally.
Will Massachusetts’ companies step up to the challenge?
Skills2Compete MA is seeking business partners to speak out on the importance of investing in our Commonwealth’s workforce and to help shape our skills training and education systems and investments.
As Patrick Flavin, AVP Director of Workforce Initiatives for The TJX Companies, Inc. said in announcing the Business Leaders United initiative, “In order to better realize long-term economic recovery, we need to close the gap between untapped talent and entry level workforce needs.”