POLITICO: Biden recovery plan must include investments in training, says NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, March 15, 2021

NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen was recently quoted in a POLITICO story about how to rebuild the country’s workforce after the pandemic. “Despite all of the relief packages that have been passed dating back to last year, there’s been virtually nothing put into education and training for workers who have permanently lost their jobs under the pandemic,” Van Kleunen told POLITICO.

Expanding access to job training – and support services, like affordable child care, that workers need to succeed in those programs – will play a critical role in our economic recovery. To ensure a truly inclusive recovery, we must expand equitable access to training programs and the communities they serve.

National Skills Coalition has called on the Biden adminstration to appoint an Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges, expand Pell Grants to quality, short-term training programs, and invest in a people-centered infrastructure plan.

Policymakers must also track and publicly provide data – disaggregated by race and gender, as well as by community and industry – to ensure that everyone is a full and equal participant in our country’s economic future. This includes publicly reporting on the economic outcomes (e.g., types of jobs, wages, credentials with labor market value, long-term career progression) of workers who lost their jobs, specifically workers of color, immigrants, women, older workers, and workers without a college degree.

“Credentials are kind of the wild west of postsecondary education these days,” Van Kluenen told POLITICO. “We need to make sure that anything that we’re paying for with public dollars, that the certificate or credential that folks are earning has some demonstrated value in the labor market, so data is going to be really important.”

“College-based CTE needs to be part of the Biden recovery plan, full stop,” he added.