America’s workforce has always been the great strength of the U.S. economy. The productivity, innovation, and skill of American workers have been critical to our country’s sustained growth and leadership in the global economy.

As the United States enters a challenging new economic period—amid job openings, technological advancements, tougher competition from abroad and lingering effects from the pandemic—Business Roundtable urges Congress to reform existing programs into a modern, effective workforce development system to grow and sustain a skilled workforce.

Policymakers should consider reforms to the workforce development system that ensure that the United States remains globally competitive. They have a critical opportunity to narrow the skills and wealth gaps and respond to employers’ and workers’ evolving needs through policies that create a flexible, efficient, and effective system. To do so, reforms to the system should promote bold and innovative workforce strategies and be guided by the following principles:

• Make reskilling and upskilling programs more accessible for workers seeking greater economic mobility.

• Invest in community colleges and high-quality, non-traditional training programs.

• Modernize the system to ensure a stronger return on investment for workers, employers, and taxpayers.

The Business Roundtable workforce policy recommendations were developed under the leadership of General Motors Chair and CEO Mary Barra, Committee Chair 2020-2021 and current Roundtable Chair, and United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby, current Committee Chair.

Business Roundtable companies are investing in workforce development through strong investments in worker training, apprenticeships and second chance employment, along with collective efforts such as the Business Roundtable Multiple Pathways Initiative, the Workforce Partnership Initiative and the Second Chance Business Coalition.