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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.

Help Federal Contractors Deliver for the Government & Taxpayers

“Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order Would Needlessly Slow the Federal Contracting Process

Department of Labor (DOL) guidance and proposed Fair Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR) rules to implement the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces” Executive Order (EO 13673) would require onerous and redundant reporting of labor law violations by prospective federal contractors; prohibit certain pre-dispute arbitration agreements; and require additional, unneeded wage and hour reports.

Back to School Equals Back to Work for Congress on Education Law

It’s that time of year again: back to school. Just as children across the country head back to the classroom, federal lawmakers return to Washington to get back to work. While the list of congressional “assignments” for the fall is quite long, a measure affecting all students should be at the top of their list: reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

Letter on Proposed Rule Revising Exemptions to Overtime Pay

BRT remains very concerned about the negative impact many of the Proposed Rule's policies would have on employers and employees alike. We urge the Department to rescind the current NPRM and immediately reevaluate the methodology used to determine the proposed salary threshold.

BRT Letter on Federal Contracting, 'Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces' Order

[If] the Administration believes there is a need to improve contractor compliance with labor laws, it should work with Congress and ensure that any legislation increases efficiency and saves money. The current proposal will do little to achieve these goals and will result in huge costs to the federal government, contractors, small businesses and ultimately American taxpayers.

Business Roundtable Statement on The Every Child Achieves Act

We appreciate the Senate’s bipartisan efforts to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, but more work must be done to guarantee all students graduate from high school with the tools necessary to succeed in college and careers.

Trade Compromise Points Way to Action on Economic Growth

This bipartisan approach can serve as an effective model for even more legislative successes in the future.

Senate Letter on ESEA Reauthorization

We are pleased that The Every Child Achieves Act, as passed by the Senate, makes important progress in each of these areas. We also appreciate the hard work that has gone into bringing this bipartisan legislation to the floor, and we look forward to closely working with you to ensure that ESEA is reauthorized as soon as possible.

Letter Opposing ESEA Amendments that Weaken Test Participation

Weakening these requirements would undermine accountability provisions designed to ensure that all children – no matter their background or school – receive the education they deserve.

Joint Letter on Reporting of College Enrollment and Remediation Rates

Senate Amendment 2156 would ensure parents, educators and policymakers have access to publicly reported data on postsecondary enrollment and remediation rates for high school graduates, both overall and for categories of students.

Column: We Mean Business on K-12 Education

The ESEA effectively ends the days of No Child Left Behind, but it doesn’t mean that the federal government has no role in ensuring our children receive the high-quality education they need to be productive citizens. The federal role should be limited, leaving K-12 education primarily up to state government, local schools districts and, of course, parents. But when the federal government is involved, it must make certain its policies hold schools accountable and require that tax dollars be spent wisely.


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.

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