L.A. business leaders advocate on the hill for investments in workforce development

April 15, 2015

Business Leaders United member Alma Salazar is vice president of Education and Workforce Development for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. 

Several weeks ago, I joined a delegation of more than 180 businesses, community-based organizations, and non-profits in our nation’s capital for the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual ACCESS Washington D.C. advocacy trip. Although this year’s agenda included nearly 30 priority issues, key among them was workforce development. Because of my participation with Business Leaders United at the annual fly-in in January, I felt uniquely prepared to speak on the importance of businesses taking the lead in workforce efforts. BLU equips its partners with a keen understanding of workforce issues and how businesses can positively influence change that helps to close the middle-skill gap. 

The L.A. Chamber’s annual Access DC visit is the culmination of year-round efforts to develop consensus on key federal issues vital to Los Angeles’ local economy. U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez shared his insights with the delegates on Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation and transportation policy. Secretary Perez was instrumental in the recent Los Angeles port labor negotiations. Additionally, our team met with U.S. Department of Labor ETA Assistant Deputy Director Eric Seleznow. The discussions centered on how employers and policymakers can work together to create access to a skilled workforce that our industries so desperately need.  

With the recent passage of WIOA, businesses and policymakers alike are recognizing the importance of the employer voice. Let’s bring our advocacy efforts in the nation’s capital back to our home state to ensure ongoing engagement and promotion of employer-led workforce development.