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Newly announced American Workforce Policy Advisory Board an opportunity to highlight need for investment in what works for workers and businesses

Newly announced American Workforce Policy Advisory Board an opportunity to highlight need for investment in what works for workers and businesses

Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, and Senior Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, announced the members of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (Board) today, including governors, CEOs, representatives of community and technical colleges and four-year institutions, and industry associations.

NSC applauds the administration’s focus on workforce development, skills, and postsecondary pathways that meet the needs of businesses and workers. Much of this administration’s workforce focus has been limited to investments businesses can make in workers, however, while calling for detrimental cuts to workforce and education programming. The Board’s work is an opportunity to call for vital – and desperately needed – public investment that can scale innovative practices happening on the ground and better connect workers with the skills businesses need.  

Called for in a June 2018 Executive Order (EO), the board will work with the interagency Council for the American Worker (Council), also established in the EO, and appointees have a tenure through July of 2020. Members are tasked with sharing recommendations with the Council on expanding access to workforce and education programs necessary to connect them with job openings, including around a national awareness campaign about training opportunities, improvements to data systems, and strategies to increase private sector investments in workers and students.

These topline directives are consistent with NSC’s 2019 Skills for Good Jobs Agenda, which identifies key steps federal policymakers can take this year to ensure that all workers and all industries have the skills to compete and prosper:

  • Transform our nation’s postsecondary education system into an engine for economic opportunity and growth
  • Expand work-based learning opportunities for all businesses and all workers
  • Take a skills-based approach to poverty reduction
  • Ensure all of America’s workers – including DREAMers – can help drive economic growth.

Missing from the directives of the Board, however, is the foundation of NSC’s agenda: a call for Congress to not just talk about workers as America’s greatest asset – invest in them.

According to the White House Council of Economic Advisors, U.S. investments in skills now lag behind virtually all other developed economies, and Congress has made it worse by slashing funds for state job training grants by 40 percent since 2001. We can’t compete in a global economy if we aren’t willing to make the necessary investments in our workers and businesses.

In the coming weeks, President Trump will release his proposed budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020, and NSC calls on the administration to prioritize investment in workforce development, education and human services programs that can help meet the objective of the Council and the Board – improving opportunities for workers to develop the skills businesses need and that lead to stronger economic impact for people in communities across our country.

The members of the Board are below:

  • Jay Box, President, Kentucky Community and Technical College System
  • Walter Bumphus, President & CEO, American Association of Community Colleges
  • Jim Clark, President & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
  • Tim Cook, CEO, Apple
  • Tom Donohue, CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • Juanita Duggan, President & CEO, National Federation for Independent Business
  • Elizabeth Goettl, President & CEO, Cristo Rey Network
  • Marillyn Hewson, Chairman, President, & CEO, Lockheed Martin
  • Eric Holcomb, Governor, Indiana
  • Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA
  • Al Kelly, CEO, Visa
  • Vi Lyles, Mayor, Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Bill McDermott, CEO, SAP America
  • Sean McGarvey, President, North America’s Building and Trades Unions
  • Doug McMillon, President & CEO, Walmart
  • Craig Menear, Chairman, President, & CEO, Home Depot
  • Michael Piwowar, Executive Director, Milken Institute
  • Scott Pulsipher, President, Western Governors University
  • Kim Reynolds, Governor, Iowa
  • Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President, & CEO, IBM
  • Scott Sanders, Executive Director, National Association of State Workforce Agencies
  • Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., President & CEO, Society for Human Resource Management
  • Jay Timmons, President & CEO, National Association of Manufacturers
  • Sheree Utash, President, WSU Tech 
  • Marianne Wanamaker, Professor, University of Tennessee