Education & Workforce | Business Roundtable

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    Betsy Andres Stewart
    Vice President
    bstewart@brt.org

Membership Contact
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.

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.

Business Roundtable Calls on Senate to Overturn Federal Contractor Rules

We strongly support the goals of ensuring that only responsible companies do business with the federal government and that those companies compete on a level playing field. However, EO 13673 is a costly and flawed regulation that fails to accomplish these goals and should be invalidated.

Jim Goodnight: Why Reading Matters & What to Do About It

The state of reading proficiency in the United States is not good. SAS CEO Dr. Jim Goodnight discusses the importance of developing reading skills at an early age, and CEO efforts to close the skills gap by improving third grade reading. 
 

Business Roundtable Urges House Vote to Overturn Executive Order on Federal Contractors

We strongly support the goals of ensuring that only responsible companies do business with the federal government and that those companies compete on a level playing field. However, EO 13673 is a costly and flawed regulation that fails to accomplish these goals and should be invalidated for several reasons.

Preparing People for the Workforce: Assurant CEO Alan Colberg

Alan Colberg, President and CEO of Assurant, emphasizes the importance of people to companies like his, and the need to train and prepare the workforce adequately in this digital age.

When skills like math and English can be hit or miss, companies, employees and communities must focus on rigor and academic standards so everyone can succeed. 

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Amicus Brief Seeks Court Review of Case over Arbitration and Class-Action Issues

In asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review Ernst & Young, LLP v. Stephen Morris, Business Roundtable argues that arbitration provisions and class-or-collective- action waivers play a key role in employment agreements, and employers require certainty as to whether and when such provisions are enforceable.

The Top Line: A Modest 156,000 Additional New Jobs in September

Payrolls expanded at a modest rate in September as the U.S. economy added 156,000 new jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Overall, the labor market is showing few signs of a pronounced upside or downside breakout. Wage growth accelerated, weekly hours picked up slightly, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5 percent as more Americans entered the workforce. For more analysis, see The Top Line below or online here.

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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.