BLU employer responds to Wall Street Journal.

February 13, 2014

Today the Wall Street Journal published a letter to the editor written by Michael Tamasi, a member of Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU), in response to a Wall Street Journal opinion piece that called on Congress to support the SKILLS Act, which would consolidate and cut federal workforce programs without taking into consideration programs that are successful. 

In his response, Tamasi provided an employer perspective on how best to reform federal job training programs to align with the needs of workers and the business community. Sector partnerships—collaborations between employers and local workforce boards, community-based organizations, community colleges, and other stakeholders to align training programs with the skills necessary for the jobs in in-demand industries—is the approach favored by the business community to reform federal job training programs.

Read Michael Tamasi’s letter below.

On Effective Reform of Federal Job-Training Programs

In "Biden's 47 Job-Training Flavors" (Review & Outlook, Feb. 3), you choose the House-passed SKILLS Act over the vice president's government-wide review of training programs as the fix for our nation's skills crisis. Many in the business community working on these issues, particularly small- and medium-size employers, wouldn't agree.

The SKILLS Act blindly bets on addition by subtraction. It eliminates almost every training program at the Department of Labor without any consideration for which are working versus which aren't. It cuts investments in skills training when local employers are struggling to find skilled workers and puts fewer expectations on how the remaining federal dollars are used by the states.

What's more, the SKILLS Act does little to engage local businesses in the targeting of these resources. This stands in contrast to the dozens of small- and medium-size employers who met with the president and vice president on Jan. 31. They wanted to see targeted federal investments in sector partnerships—local collaborations of employers organized by industry—as the way to ensure market responsiveness across all of our human capital programs.

We have different types of job-training programs because we have job seekers with varying skill sets across a workforce of some 155 million people. Those programs need to be better aligned. And we need industry-based partnerships to make sure all programs are preparing people for real jobs.

Michael Tamasi
Avon, Mass.