National Organizations Announce Partnership to Help Employers Shape National Skills Strategy
With Local Skills Shortages Stalling Economic Recovery, Groups Announce Commitment to Action at Clinton Global Initiative America Meeting
Joyce Foundation first Philanthropic Partner to Invest in Effort
CHICAGO, June 30, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- This week, four national organizations will announce Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships, 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.
The announcement will be made during CGI America, a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) in Chicago June 29-30, where President Clinton is responding to challenges in the United States by convening business, government, and civic leaders to focus on economic recovery and job growth. The meeting will generate Commitments to Action - new, specific, and measurable plans to address job creation challenges in the U.S.
Business Leaders United, a CGI Commitment to Action, is spearheaded by Skills for America's Future, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Skills Coalition, and Corporate Voices for Working Families. The Joyce Foundation has announced that it will be the first member of the philanthropic community to invest in the Business Leaders United Commitment to Action.
"Job creation and job training strategies must go hand in hand," said Joyce Foundation President Ellen S. Alberding . "That won't happen unless business leaders are at the table shaping workforce policy. Business Leaders United has identified concrete measurable goals to help ensure public workforce training investments are targeted at the jobs that will be part of our post-recession economy."
Industry partnerships are a specific workforce training model led by local employers in collaboration with colleges, community organizations, public workforce boards, and unions. This model has compiled a track record of success. Business Leaders United will:
- 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.
Supporting industry partnerships through public policy will help address the skill shortages that are putting the brakes on economic recovery.
"In order to better realize long-term economic recovery, we need to close the gap between untapped talent and entry level workforce needs," said Patrick Flavin , AVP Director of Workforce Initiatives for The TJX Companies, Inc. and a member of the Corporate Voices for Working Families network.
"Investing in our workforce is a 'win' for our company and a 'win' for our community," said Pete Strange , CEO of Messer Construction and a member of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions network. "The future competitiveness of our company depends on our ability to attract and develop talent. And the future vitality of our community depends on our collective ability to grow the skills of our workforce so people can obtain gainful employment."
Employer partners from the national organizations spearheading Business Leaders United are applauding the announcement of the Commitment to Action.
"We need to make sure America has a 21st century workforce that is equipped with the training and capabilities necessary to be successful, to get ahead, and to drive a competitive economy in the challenges of a global marketplace," said Eva Sage-Gavin , Executive Vice President of Global Human Resources and Corporate Affairs for Gap, Inc. and an Advisory Board Member of Skills for America's Future, which seeks to promote partnerships between community colleges and businesses. "Business Leaders United will bring essential voices to the table to ensure we can grow the skilled workforce of the future today."
"Those of us who work in industry partnerships understand the power they generate, particularly for small and mid-sized employers, to address local skill needs," said Michael Mandina of Optimax Systems, Inc. in Ontario, New York and a member of National Skills Coalition's employer network. "We need to have a national policy conversation about how to better support this proven strategy and close local skill gaps. I look forward to working with Business Leaders United to shape that conversation."
About the Joyce Foundation
Based in Chicago, the Joyce Foundation supports efforts to protect the Great Lakes, to reduce poverty and violence in the region, and to ensure its residents good schools, decent jobs, a strong democracy, and a diverse and thriving culture. Learn more at www.joycefdn.org.
About the Business Leaders United Partner Organizations
Skills for America's Future, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, is a non-partisan partnership of businesses and community colleges. Its purpose is to address the dual problems of high unemployment and the difficulty many employers face in finding workers with the right skills by connecting employers to community colleges and workforce partners so students can be better equipped with the skills necessary to find and retain jobs in a 21st century economy. Announced in October 2010 by President Obama, the effort had already received commitments from some of the nation's leading employers including Accenture, Gap, Inc., Pacific Gas & Electric, McDonalds, UPS, and United Technology Corporation (UTC). Visit www.aspeninstitute.org/policy-work/economic-opportunities/skills-for-americas-future
National Fund for Workforce Solutions is an award-winning national initiative focused on helping low-wage workers obtain good careers while at the same time ensuring that employers can find workers with the high-quality skills they need to succeed in this highly competitive economy. Since 2007, the National Fund has raised more than $31 million to support 31 communities that have contributed an additional $112 million in locally-raised resources from nearly 300 different funding sources, including community foundations, United Ways, corporate foundations, workforce investment boards, chambers of commerce and state agencies. Each of these communities has created local funding collaboratives that have collectively invested in more than 80 sectoral workforce partnerships. For more information visit www.nfwsolutions.org.
National Skills Coalition is a broad-based coalition of employers, unions, education and training providers, and public officials working toward a vision of an America that grows its economy by investing in its people so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper. NSC works with its members to ensure that their proven, real-world strategies for meeting local workforce needs can inform state and federal policies. For more information visit www.nationalskillscoalition.org.
Corporate Voices for Working Families is the leading national business membership organization shaping conversations and collaborations on public and corporate policy issues involving working families. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Corporate Voices for Working Families creates and advances innovative policy solutions that reflect a commonality of interests among the private sector both global and domestic, government and other stakeholders. Corporate Voices for Working Families provides leading and best-practice employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation's economy and enhancing the vitality of our communities. For more information visit www.corporatevoices.org.
About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and CGI America
CGI America is a new Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) event focused on developing ideas for fostering economic recovery in the U.S. Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton , CGI convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world's most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together nearly 150 current and former heads of state, 18 Nobel Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. These CGI members have made nearly 2,000 commitments, which have already improved the lives of 300 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued in excess of $63 billion. The 2011 Annual Meeting will take place Sept. 19-22 in New York City. The CGI community also includes CGI U, which hosts an annual meeting for undergraduate and graduate students, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young CGI members for leadership development and collective commitment-making.
SOURCE Joyce Foundation
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