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Education and Workforce Business Roundtable Letter to U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions

Apr 9, 2021

The Honorable Patty Murray

Chair

Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

United States Senate

Dirksen Senate Office Building

SD-428

Washington, DC 20510


The Honorable Richard Burr

Ranking Member

Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions

United States Senate

Dirksen Senate Office Building

SD-428

Washington, DC 20510


Dear Chair Murray and Ranking Member Burr:

On behalf of Business Roundtable, I am pleased to respond to your joint request for policy solutions to advance our nation’s workforce development programs. Your bipartisan approach to addressing this issue is commendable and critically important.

Business disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have spurred a digital transformation of workplaces and accelerated shifts to automation. Achieving a sustainable and equitable economic recovery, particularly for displaced workers, will require building a strong workforce equipped with skills for growing sectors of the post-pandemic economy. To do so, the business community and government will need to work together and invest in strategies that enable more Americans to gain skills for these in-demand jobs of the future.

The Business Roundtable Education and Workforce Committee, chaired by General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, recently launched a Workforce Policy Working Group to hone policy priorities that better align federal workforce development investments with workplace and employer needs, thus providing displaced individuals and other workers with access to skills for greater upward mobility. In short, our recommendations will be guided by four main principles that we believe an effective federal workforce system must reflect. Those principles are to:

  • Deliver greater mobility for workers;
  • Foster pathways to and for untapped talent, especially for underrepresented populations;
  • Ensure a return on investment for all stakeholders in the system – workers, employers and taxpayers; and
  • Create greater efficiency through evidence-based investments and multi-agency coordination.

Supporting efforts to modernize the federal workforce development programs and create a more employer-driven system remains a significant priority for members. We look forward to sharing these policy recommendations for your consideration in May.

In addition to our policy agenda, Business Roundtable members are actively engaged in direct initiatives to expand employment opportunities for underrepresented populations, including more equitable hiring. Over 80 companies have committed to the Multiple Pathways Initiative, which aims to place greater emphasis on skills over credentials in hiring and advancement policies. Additionally, through the Workforce Partnership Initiative, our members are partnering with two- and four-year higher education institutions to train individuals for in-demand careers.

Thank you for engaging our country’s largest employers as you seek ways to strengthen investments for American workers. We look forward to working closely with you in this effort.

Warm regards,

Dane Linn

Vice President

Business Roundtable