On July 19, 2018 President Trump signed an executive order to establish the National Council of the American Worker. The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board meets quarterly to discuss a national strategy for training and retooling the American workforce. The board is comprised of 25 leaders from diverse backgrounds in business, education, academia, and the public and private sector; and is co-chaired by Advisor to the President, Ivanka Trump, and Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross.
Over 300 companies and associations have signed a pledge to the American worker promising to increase opportunities over the next five years. With technology, the economy, and social forces changing at an unprecedented rate, the group meets to discuss how to equip the workforce to adapt and change as well. The Advisory Board met in September to propose and vote on several industry-lead strategies.
Strategic ideas include recognizing multiple paths to career success (skills versus degrees); providing learning records that are easy to access, transfer, and share with employers; democratizing candidate recruitment and training, targeting unemployed and underemployed folks in opportunity zones, and working with schools to prepare future workers. Also discussed was finding better ways to measure progress and success for employer-lead training initiatives, and crafting a common vocabulary for sharing concepts across the groups involved.
The emphasis is on finding an industry-education-worker-policy solution, rather than creating a government agency to cause change. This makes sense since industry should have an idea of the skills needed for the modern workforce. The effort may go a long way to ensure American works aren’t left behind (and to dim the memory of industry abandoning the American workforce in years past in favor of cheap labor elsewhere). I’m looking forward to tracking progress, and learning how to keep my toolkit current!