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- Skills Mismatch
Last week, National Skills Coalition CEO Andy Van Kleunen and partners from Business Leaders United for Workforce Development (including Rick Plympton CEO, Optimax Systems, Inc. and Deborah Rowe, VP, Nursing Workforce Development, Genesis Healthcare) were invited by the Departments of Commerce and Labor to participate in the launch of the administration’s Job Quality Toolkit. The toolkit is an actionable tool that companies can use to improve the quality of the jobs they offer. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh participated in the roundtable discussion with leaders from the business, labor and policy communities.
The challenge of attracting and retaining a diverse, productive, engaged workforce has grown. More than ever before, workers are looking for quality jobs – and companies that prioritize job quality face fewer skilled worker pipeline challenges.
But what makes for a quality job? Drawing from the perspectives of NSC staff, BLU members, and a host of other business, labor and workforce experts, the released toolkit identified eight key drivers: Recruitment and Hiring; Benefits; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA); Empowerment and Representation; Job Security and Working Conditions; Organizational Culture; Pay; and Skills and Career Advancement.
Pictured Above: NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen and U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo. Rick Plympton CEO, Optimax Systems, Inc.
Hearing the on-the-ground experience of leaders from successful small- and medium-sized businesses was deemed especially critical by agency staff when compiling the Job Quality Framework. That’s why Commerce called on Business Leaders United. Not only have BLU leaders been advocating for skills policy at the state and national level; they also typically work closely with local partners to train and hire community residents for skilled jobs, and have themselves innovated to change their own operations in order to improve worker retention and advancement. They know what works from a business and workforce perspective, and they can articulate what support smaller businesses need from policymakers and other partners to improve worker outcomes.
Business Leaders United also contributed several case studies that supplement the framework. Each case study outlines how these businesses have invested in job quality and the impact it has had on their individual workforces.
NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen applauded the Departments of Commerce and Labor for producing the job quality toolkit, and especially for reaching out to small- and medium-sized businesses to better understand how their partnerships with other stakeholders could serve as models for expanding job quality within their respective industries, saying “Members of BLU have shown that public policies which support workforce-focused industry partnerships between employers, training and service providers, and labor can help smaller companies redesign their workplaces, and scale job quality practices across a sector. This includes the expansion of shared, high-quality skills training so workers can advance their careers and compensation while meeting local industry’s need to innovate. We look forward to seeing how Biden administration initiatives like Commerce’s recently announced Good Jobs Challenge grants will invest in such partnerships and thereby support the adoption of the toolkit’s job quality practices across a range of U.S. companies.”
Pictured Above: U.S. Secretary of Labor, Marty Walsh. Deborah Rowe, VP, Nursing Workforce Development, Genesis Healthcare
Several Business Leaders United members who contributed to the framework and toolkit released statements to the media on the occasion of the toolkit launch: