National Skills Coalition partnered with National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) to provide policy content, a joint policy platform, and advocacy strategy to their more than 1000 attendees at the 2018 NAWB Forum on March 25-27. Rachel Unruh, NSC’s Chief of Staff, participated in a forward-looking keynote plenary on Forging Purposeful Change, where Rachel offered her perspective on the future of work and the workforce, and the role advocates and policymakers must play to ensure our nation has the skills to compete.
NSC also hosted a half-day deep-dive into the policy landscape in DC, the related policy debates, and the role that workforce boards and their partners can be shaping those conversations. The focus of the conversation was the “why” behind workforce boards engaging in policies beyond the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). NSC staff were joined by Julie Parks of Grand Rapids Community College, Tammy Childers of Eastern Carolina Workforce Board, and Al Searles of Smithfield Hog Production to discuss the intersection between workforce development and postsecondary policy. Jennifer Meek Eells of the Stark Tuscarawas Workforce Development Board and Kerry Desjardins of the American Public Human Services Association helped lead a discussion on the need for skills as an integral component of welfare and safety net policy. Jason Petrait of the Workforce Development Council of Seattle-King County and Tracey Carey, Employ Milwaukee Inc. provided the local workforce board perspective on what expanded federal work-based learning policies should be supporting.
On the final day of the NAWB Forum, NSC helped to prep attendees to hit the Hill with a lively panel discussion centered on “the do’s and don’ts” from the perspective of a professional lobbyist, a former Hill staffer, and a workforce board director (who is also an experienced advocate). Attendees left the session prepared to frame the asks of the joint NAWB-NSC Policy Platform with their own first-hand experience, community data, and compelling anecdotes.