LeAnne Redick Wilson
Senior Vice President
Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy.
The American economy and Americans thrive when U.S. workers have the levels of education and training needed to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow. Our country needs a world-class, skilled workforce to lead in global innovation, ensure future economic growth and drive job creation.
Unfortunately, the U.S. skills gap is real and growing. According to a Business Roundtable/Change the Equation survey, 98 percent of CEOs report that finding candidates with the competencies and training to fill open positions is a problem, affecting all skill levels needed – from entry level to the highly technical.
Closing the skills gap starts with employers sending a strong and clear “demand signal” about the skills needed to fill open positions today – and where we see the workplace going in the future. This requires active involvement by CEOs, which is why Business Roundtable sponsors our own programs, builds sustainable partnerships with other stakeholders and advocates for broader policy changes that will teach Americans the skills they need to succeed.
Business Roundtable is working with partner organizations to drive solutions that better connect the worlds of learning and work.
Chief among our efforts to close the skills gap is our work through the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative (HEWI), a collaborative effort with the Business-Higher Education Forum(BHEF). Through HEWI, we are building partnerships between CEOs and postsecondary leaders to create, strengthen and expand STEM-related and other education programs that support high-demand jobs.
Business Roundtable leads the National Network of Business and Industry Associations, which brings together sector-specific organizations and businesses to develop certification standards for workers. With funding support from ACT Foundation, Joyce Foundation and Lumina Foundation, the National Network’s ultimate goal is to align learning with solid employment opportunities and life success.
The National Network’s Work-and-Learn in Action: Successful Strategies for Employers highlights 15 real-life models, providing a blueprint to help companies implement similar strategies that improve workforce recruitment, training and advancement.
These programs close the skills gap by allowing employers to help students and workers gain and demonstrate necessary “hands-on” skills, competencies and other common employability skills (e.g., teamwork and dependability) that are necessary for workplace success.
Closing the skills gap requires every stakeholder to do its part. In addition to the work of our companies and learning/training institutions, government policies play a powerful role in supporting programs that help close the skills gap. Business Roundtable regularly weighs in on key federal legislation, such as the Workforce Investment Act, the Perkins Act, the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act and the Higher Education Act.
“CEOs are on the forefront of the effort to make sure that all Americans are trained and ready to succeed in their careers. Closing the skills gap is good for our country, good for our citizens and good for business.”
- John Engler, President, Business Roundtable
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