WASHINGTON, April 14, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Business leaders from renowned American corporations will join Year Up leaders and alumni, Corporate Voices for Working Families and representatives from other enterprising pathway programs for meetings with 35 key policymakers on Capitol Hill today. The event's agenda will highlight the most effective, scalable workforce development programs for driving economic growth, ultimately closing the gap between untapped talent and entry level workforce needs.
Current economic conditions have many on Capitol Hill calling for deep cuts – or total elimination – of the workforce training system. At a time of scarce resources and growing talent demands in the private sector, it is essential that resources be directed to support enterprising pathway programs that help employers develop new talent pipelines and create jobs.
Even in the current economy, employers report difficulty finding skilled entry-level talent. Over the next decade, American companies will need to compete for an estimated shortfall of 14 million workers with the skills necessary to succeed in an increasingly competitive economy. In order to ensure that businesses have the talent needed to drive economic growth, it is crucial that public policies support continued private and public investment in human capital development.
"As a nation, we must commit to strengthening our workforce. American businesses need access to the untapped talent of our country's young people who have the skills necessary to succeed on the job and build a strong economy," said Tom Ryan, Chairman of CVS Caremark. "CVS Caremark's partnership with Year Up is a key example of an enterprising pathway model that works, supplying companies like ours with new sources of skilled and diverse talent."
In order to develop new sources of skilled talent, private sector employers are forging partnerships with innovative nonprofit organizations to create enterprising pathway programs that are highly effective at closing the gap between business needs and potential employee skills. Year Up is a leading exemplar of this approach. A national nonprofit that provides career training to low-income young adults (18-24), Year Up partners with corporate sponsors to provide training and internships that give young adults the skills needed to enter full-time jobs and/or higher education. Newly released research independently conducted by Economic Mobility Corporation indicates that students who complete the Year Up program have access to higher quality jobs and earned up to 30 percent more than those who did not.
"Year Up is about investing in young people who are willing to invest in themselves," said Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). "Year Up is providing tangible value to corporate partners, growing our country's workforce, and in the long run helping to grow our economy. This program is an excellent example of how public/private partnerships are meant to work: Businesses, educators, and government all working together to build a qualified workforce that local businesses and major corporations are willing to tap."
Year Up and Corporate Voices for Working Families are closely aligned with the New Options Project, a multi-year initiative that seeks to connect more than four million young adults with no high school diploma to meaningful career opportunities that match their talents and skills. Supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, New Options works to connect employer talent needs with new sources of previously undeveloped talent.
At a time of scarce resources, it is necessary for policies that encourage public and private investment in developing the talent businesses need to create jobs and reinvigorate the economy. This means public funding must be targeted to those programs that produce outcomes that are tightly aligned to the needs of employers. And because business is in the best position to develop new talent, public policy should incent private investment to develop untapped talent.
"To compete in a global economy and to keep and grow an innovative corporate sector, developing the skills and talents of our workforce must be a priority. To grow, our emerging innovative industries in Colorado and around the country need a first-rate, highly skilled workforce," said Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO). "Through initiatives like Year Up, the public and private sectors can help develop a strong workforce for the jobs of today and tomorrow."
About Corporate Voices for Working Families
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, we create and advance innovative policy solutions that reflect a commonality of interests among the private sector both global and domestic, government and other stakeholders. Corporate Voices provides leading employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation's economy and enhancing the vitality of our communities. To learn more visit www.corporatevoices.org or www.corporatevoices.wordpress.com.
About Year Up Inc.
Year Up's mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing low-income young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Its holistic approach focuses on students' professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 1,000 students a year at sites in Atlanta, Baltimore (college-based pilot program), Boston, Chicago, New York City, Providence, San Francisco Bay Area, the National Capital Region, and Puget Sound (Seattle). To learn more, visit www.yearup.org or www.youtube.com/yearupinc.
About New Options Project
Both the briefing and visits were supported, in part, by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's New Options Project. The New Options Project is a multi-year initiative that creates new pathways to employment for young adults and provides employers with access to new sources of untapped talent.
SOURCE Corporate Voices for Working Families; Year Up Inc.