Education & Workforce | Page 2 | Business Roundtable

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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.

Perkins Act Letter

Business Roundtable believes passage of your legislation can play a key role toward addressing this mismatch by supporting state and local efforts to build talent pipelines that provide students and workers the skills they need to succeed in today’s workforce.

Pell Grant Letter to House Appropriations

Reinstating year-round Pell would provide that flexibility, allowing students to receive Pell throughout the entire academic year. Adopting this policy would more formally recognize that the needs of today’s low- income students are inadequately served by the current Pell Grant program.

Pell Grant Letter to Senate Appropriations

Currently, federal financial aid does too little to support students who are older, returning to school, or seeking specific skills and credentials for work. These students, who may be employing strategies such as combining work and learning, accelerating their time to degree, and/or attending school part-time and year-round, need this flexibility to more successfully persist and complete their program of study.

Administration’s ‘Blacklisting’ Rules Drive up Costs, Burdens in Federal Contracting

A new “blacklisting” rule from the Department of Labor represents yet another regulatory overreach by the executive branch, bypassing Congress to multiply paperwork and costs for federal contractors – and by extension, the U.S. taxpayer.

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.

The Top Line: Economy Adds 255,000 Jobs in July, Unemployment Steady

The labor market exhibited signs of strength in July despite continued global headwinds and sluggish second quarter economic growth, adding 255,000 jobs in the month. According to the monthly report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payrolls registered a second month of robust gains, wages continued to rise, and weekly hours ticked up. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent even as more Americans entered the labor force.

Policy for the Reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career And Technical Education Act

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
As an association of CEOs who represent more than 200 leading U.S. companies with more than 16 million employees, Business Roundtable understands the importance of a skilled, prepared workforce. Its members are also familiar with the skills gap affecting the U.S. economy. According to a recent survey of its members, more than 95 percent of CEOs indicated their companies suffer from skills shortages. The long-term negative impacts of this skills gap on workers, families, businesses, governments and the economy are potentially far-reaching.

Career Technical Ed Bill Will Help Close Skills Gap

Business Roundtable today welcomed bipartisan Committee passage of a bill to reauthorize career and technical education (CTE) programs that demonstrably improve student outcomes after high school.

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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.