America’s National Workforce Development Strategy

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On 19 July 2018, President Donald J. Trump’s Administration announced the establishment of the President’s National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board to solve the new challenges faced by American workers.

Designed as a forum for the development of a national strategy to address urgent workforce issues the Council will:

  • Develop a national campaign to raise awareness of workforce issues, such as the urgency of the skills crisis and the importance of STEM education;
  • Create a plan for recognizing companies that demonstrate excellence in workplace education, training, retraining policies, and workforce investment;
  • Help expand the number of apprenticeships and encourage increased investment in training and re-training American workers;
  • Recommend a specific course of action for increasing transparency related to education and job-training programs, and propose ways to increase available job data; and
  • Consider and implement the recommendations of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board (Board), as appropriate.

This is based upon the identified need for more American workers to match the demand related to the Trump Administration’s pro-growth policies.  A core problem is a mismatch between the skills that employers and looking for and current American workers skills so reskilling in the right areas is key.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order establishing the National Council for the American Worker and the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.  The council will work on a national campaign to promote investment in our nation’s workforce.  The board will consist of approximately 25 leaders from the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors who will offer their expertise and advice for smart policy development.

Apprenticeships is an area for expansion involving more industry sectors, streamlining licences and cross border recognition, support for veterans and Americans who are reentering society from prison to jobs, and encouraging workforce investment are all parts of the strategy.

Members of Congress, Cabinet Members, Business Leaders, Associations and Labor Unions, State and Local Officials have all shown support for President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on Workforce Development.

“For decades the government has had more than 40 workforce-training programs in more than a dozen agencies, and too many have produced meager results,” Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump wrote this week.

It’s time to fix that. In its first 500 days, the Trump Administration has already taken action to expand apprenticeships; increase access to high-quality Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education for K–12 students; and encourage companies to invest more of what they earn in American workers and American production.”

A Pledge to America’s Workers has seen many companies committing to train American workers for American jobs.  Support has come from the National Association of Manufacturers, The Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp, Society for Human Resource Management, FedEx, General Motors, Walmart, Home Depot, IBM, Microsoft, National Association of Home Builders, Google, and American Trucking Associations.

One of the initial areas of focus for the Council will be finding ways to increase access to available job data, including data on which regions offer the most opportunities.

Related news includes significant funding for career and technical education initiatives,

The Strengthening Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the 21st Century Act reauthorized the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act for the first time since 2006.  The law provides federal funding—over $1 billion—for state and local career and technical education programs, while modifying how such funds are used to better target critical skills gaps.  The Trump administration has pushed for Congress to update the CTE law as part of its broader efforts to boost apprenticeships, job training and the reskilling of U.S. workers.

Similar to feedback on possible approaches in Australia, as identified by John Dearie who is the president of the Center for American Entrepreneurship, Trump’s workforce development plan is missing a critical component, and that is, “…bypassing the unique insights and expertise of the real experts: business and education practitioners.”

What is needed is the identification of current and future critical job roles, critical capabilities, issues and gaps, with priorities and workforce development strategies across industry sectors, regions and cities.  An approach that balances individual aspirations, employer needs and is informed by those workforce practitioners that are working on the ground, within a national strategy framework that encourages innovation would work well for the USA and Australia.

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