Education & Workforce | Business Roundtable

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LeAnne Redick Wilson
Senior Vice President
​lwilson@brt.org

    

What is Business Roundtable

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.

More Than Leaders. Leadership.

Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote a thriving economy and expanded opportunity for all Americans through sound public policy.

About BRT

As business leaders representing every sector of the economy, Business Roundtable members know that the American economy thrives when U.S. workers have the levels of education and training needed to succeed in 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 member survey, 94 percent of CEOs report that skills gaps are problematic for their companies. This talent gap affects all skill levels – from entry level to the highly technical.

More must be done now to strengthen the education and training pipeline serving youth and working adults so that individuals have the skills needed to be prepared to work and build sustainable career paths.

Business Leaders Urge Senate to Pass Career and Technical Ed Bill

CEOs Applaud House Passage, Call on Senate to Pass Perkins Reauthorization

Washington – America’s business leaders today praised bipartisan House passage of a bill to modernize and reauthorize career and technical education (CTE) programs and called on the Senate to quickly approve the legislation. The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 2353), an update of the Perkins Act, passed the House today by voice vote.

Letter Supporting Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act

H.R. 2842, the Accelerating Individuals into the Workforce Act, is a thoughtful approach for encouraging companies to hire recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Business Roundtable Amicus Brief on Enforceability of Arbitration Clauses

Business Roundtable filed an amicus brief on June 16, 2017, in the U.S. Supreme Court, supporting EY in a case on the enforceability of arbitration clauses in employer-employee disputes.

At issue is whether an agreement that requires an employer and an employee to resolve employment-related disputes through individual arbitration – in the process, waiving class-action litigation – is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). BRT contends that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) prohibits such waivers, but federal appellate courts have split on the issue with serious complications for companies operating in multiple jurisdictions.

Skills for a Strong Economy

In a national print ad, Business Roundtable members applaud the President’s commitment to industry-driven apprenticeships as a powerful tool to build the skilled workforce prepared for the jobs of the 21st Century and accept the President’s challenge to improve and expand apprenticeship opportunities in the United States.

A Step Forward to Build U.S. Workforce

In response to President Trump’s executive order on expanding apprenticeship programs in the United States, Wes Bush, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Northrop Grumman Corporation and Chair of the Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee, issued the following statement.

2016 BRT Education and Workforce Survey

BRT surveyed 177 member companies on workforce talent, including the extent to which they can hire employees with specific skills for key occupations.

CEOs Tackle Skills Gap as a ‘National Crisis’ Threatening America’s Economic Future

Business Roundtable today released a new report, Work in Progress – How CEOs Are Helping Close America’s Skills Gap, which highlights employers’ efforts to address the talent gap shortages impacting business. These efforts include programs in K-12 skill-building, postsecondary credentials, worker training and recruiting a diverse workforce.

Letter to Reps. Foxx & Scott Supporting Strengthening CTE for the 21st Century

On behalf of the CEO members of Business Roundtable, I write to express our strong support for bipartisan Committee passage of H.R. 2353, The Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act, an update of the Perkins Act. We applaud your leadership in ensuring the introduction of this bill, which is nearly identical to one passed overwhelmingly in the House of Representatives last year.

Letter to Senator Hatch Supporting College Transparency Act

On behalf of the CEO members of Business Roundtable, whose companies employ nearly 15 million Americans, I write to express our strong support for the College Transparency Act. This legislation is entirely consistent with one of our long-standing guiding principles for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, which is to drive quality and decision-making through better data.

Key Stats on Education & Workforce

Whether it be in the context of private enterprise or public policy, Business Roundtable CEOs believe that sound decisions must be grounded in the facts.  Our commitment to evidence-based, data-driven decision making is embodied in the Business Roundtable Data Monitors — a suite of executive-style dashboards that illustrate key data points and trends in various areas of public policy.

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Committee Priorities

Improve U.S. K-12 Education

A persistent complaint by employers is that many high school and college graduates – as well as some adult workers – lack foundational skills needed in the 21st century workplace. These include, for example, analyzing complex texts, adapting to new technologies and problem solving.

Rigorous academic standards in K-12 English language arts and mathematics are critical to ensuring all students graduate from high school ready for college and the workforce. Business Roundtable supports the full adoption and implementation of high-quality education standards and aligned assessments to raise the performance of U.S. students. Business Roundtable also supports policies and programs that ensure all students read on grade level by the end of third grade.

Align Individual Skills with Employer Needs

Businesses increasingly have difficulty finding employees with the knowledge and training required to meet their workforce needs. This includes both technical skills – such as aptitude in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) – and applied skills – such as leadership, problem-solving and communications abilities. This misalignment of skills exacerbates unemployment and stifles economic growth.

Business Roundtable believes a multifaceted solution, involving public and private players, is needed to address this skills mismatch problem. As a start, employers must send a clear, direct “demand signal” of the foundational attributes employees must demonstrate to succeed in the workplace; industry needs to sort out the large and chaotic world of industry credentials; state workforce boards and educational and training centers must understand job needs in each region and focus on helping students acquire the skills needed to fill those jobs; and human resources practices must improve across industry to identify competencies gained through valid credential programs and relevant experience.

Key Federal Legislation

Business Roundtable will continue to advocate for federal legislation that authorizes programs and policies that improve educational outcomes and help close the skills gap, including reauthorization of America COMPETES, the Carl D. Perkins Act and the Higher Education Act.