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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.

Letter from Business and Education Groups on Importance of Annual Testing

Dear Senators Alexander and Murray: We are very pleased that both the House and Senate have expressed a strong desire to reauthorize the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the current version of the Elementary And Secondary Education Act (ESEA), early in this congressional session.

The Skills Gap: Business Leaders Offers Experience -- and Solutions

The skills gap is not a new issue for Business Roundtable, our member CEOs or this blog. I have written extensively on it, and CEOs have talked at length about it.

The Economy, Taxes, Immigration, Education, Gas Prices -- and More! Business Leaders on CNBC's Squawk Box

CNBC's morning news and interview program, Squawk Box, set up operations this morning in conjunction with Business Roundtable's final quarterly meeting of the year, speaking to a dozen CEOs. The topics covered the full range of the economy, and all sectors were well represented.

As always, CNBC also did a great and job posting clips from their video interviews. A round-up:

CEOs Say Skills Gap Threatens U.S Economic Future

The skills gap is real and is a significant problem, the CEOs of major U.S. corporations said today at an event in Washington hosted by Business Roundtable and Change the Equation. The finding is part of a survey of the memberships on U.S. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) Skills, conducted earlier this year.

Improved Teacher Training Will Help America Compete

Business Roundtable welcomes the Department of Education's draft rule for its focus on preparing teachers for low-performing schools.

Closing America's Skills Gap

As America’s economy climbs back from the deepest recession in more than half a century, it faces a new challenge: Businesses cannot find enough employees with the right knowledge, skills and training to fill critical jobs. This “skills gap” is a major reason the U.S. economy has not reached its full potential predicted before the recession.1 Moreover, the problem likely will persist unless significant policy changes occur.

Finding Talented, Well-Qualified Workers among Long-Term Unemployed

The White House this week released an update on national efforts -- by government, communities, educational institutions and employers -- to support the hiring of people who have been out-of-work for months and years. We're glad but certainly not surprised to report that companies headed by Business Roundtable CEOs are prominent in these efforts.

Putting WIOA (and Americans) to Work

While Washington has largely been gridlocked, policymakers did manage to find, with full support from Business Roundtable, common ground to reauthorize a critical job training measure this summer. In addition to breaking through the policy stalemate, the enactment of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) was momentous because it reauthorized programs that had languished for nearly 14 years.

National Opportunity Summit Focuses on Youth Employment

The National Opportunity Summit, hosted by Opportunity Nation and co-conveners Business Roundtable (BRT), U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), and United Way Worldwide, will welcome more than 1,000 leaders from the business, nonprofit, education, and government sectors.


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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