SOS! Save Our Skills.
Great resource for your toolkit! We've prepared analyses of the state-level impact of sequestration on workforce programs. You can use these to present to Members and staff during your meetings and site visits, to include in letters, and even to tweet or post on Facebook walls. Check out the full list and keep your state's fact sheet handy!
The SOS! Save Our Skills Campaign was a six-month initiative to mobilize National Skills Coalition members and allies from states or districts of key congressional members in an effort to protect federal investments in building the skills of America’s workforce from sequestration—automatic, across-the-board cuts—which went into effect on March 1, 2013.
While the sequester remains in place for now, policymakers are considering alternative proposals that would replace the remaining nine years of cuts.
The campaign generated over 2,000 contacts with key federal policymakers through meetings, press conferences, letters, and videos, demonstrating the important role of investments in skills in getting more people back to work and growing our economy. Investments in skills remain at risk in ongoing budget negotiations, and SOS! Campaign members are still hard at work speaking out on behalf of America’s workers and industries, urging lawmakers to Save Our Skills.
What We Are Doing:
Chicago Jobs Council released two videos giving voice to residents of Aurora, Illinois and DuPage County, Illinois who are speaking out on the importance of workforce funding and urging their state congressional delegation to protect funding from harmful cuts that will prevent their community from achieving economic recovery. The DuPage County video was submitted to Senator Durbin’s office.
NC Rural Economic Development Center created this video to highlight their training program grantees and showed it at the mid-October Rural Partners Forum that included the staff of Senators Burr (R-NC) and Hagan (D-NC). They also followed up by sending the video with a personal note to the staff that were unable to attend the event.
Our Indiana coalition put together this video describing the successes of their workforce training programs and the negative impact that potential funding cuts would have on workers in their state.
On October 25, a press event was held in Michigan to urge the state congressional delegation to protect job training and workforce development programs from cuts and avoid sequestration.
At an October 31 Save Our Skills! press event in Massachusetts, coordinated by Jobs with Justice, NSC member Alexandra Risley Schroeder of Massachusetts Workforce Alliance spoke about the consequences of further cuts to the workforce development system in the Commonwealth. The event drew significant attention from local media outlets.
Letters and Articles
SOSer Loh-Sze Leung of SkillWorks had her op-ed, “The Skills Gap: Myth or Reality”, co-written with State Senator Dan Wolf, placed in the Boston Business Journal.
SOSer Ross Meyer worked with four Business Leaders United employers to place a joint op-ed,”Workforce Training Key to the Recovery” in the Cincinnati Enquirer.
In Wisconsin, SOS! partner Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board contributed an opinion piece, "Working to close the gap, but worried about funding," to their local media outlet. SOSer Mari Kay-Nabozny also helped to place this letter to the editor on the threat of the fiscal cliff to area workforce programs.
In California, 35 individuals representing various organizations and sectors (e.g., business, labor, education, nonprofit, and public) sent a letter to Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) urging the passage of legislation to avert sequestration cuts and find a balanced, bi-partisan approach to deficit reduction.
Get Involved: Send Out Our SOS!
Contact NSC's Andrea Glispie to learn more about SOS! There are lots of ways to get involved.
- Follow our SOS! updates on Facebook and Twitter. Join the conversation at hashtag #SaveOurSkills, and by posting to your elected officials' Facebook and Twitter pages. Here are some sample social media messages to make your posts quick and easy!
- Call or Write Your Members of Congress. Check out these talking points you can use when encouraging your elected officials to stand with America's workers.
- Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper and/or to a larger state or national newspaper. Here are some great tips for success.
- Write an Op-ed piece for your local paper with your perspective on the importance of workforce development. Be sure to look over our helpful hints for successfully writing and submitting your article for publication.
- Participate in a Town Hall. Attend a town hall meeting held by your Member of Congress. Use these tips for getting your message across at this kind of public event.
- Invite your Members of Congress to visit your program. Site visits are a great opportunity to educate policymakers on the important role of education and training services in their community. Here is our guide to arranging and hosting site visits and meetings.