RealClearPolicy: 28 Workforce Experts, Including NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen, Call On Biden To Create Workforce Working Group

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, January 22, 2021

The Better Employment and Training Strategies Taskforce – a group of nearly 30 workforce experts – is calling on the Biden administration to “build back better” by investing in workers and the workforce institutions that ensure workers are prepared for and connected to good jobs.

“We’re fighting a wildfire with a garden hose,” the group writes in a recent RealClearPolicy op-ed. “The federal government addresses workforce development and transition assistance with a calcified patchwork of policies, many of them decades old.”

“A deliberate investment in systems and institutions that foster job creation, ensure effective training, and address the needs of those who have been set back by the current crisis, especially women, workers of color, and young adults, will be essential if we are to truly Build Back Better. Workers, and the institutions and systems that support them, need to be at the center of solutions.”

The taskforce, which includes NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen, recommends that the Biden administration immediately create a “cross-agency, cabinet level working group to coordinate these investments, braid and utilize programs that cut across multiple Congressional committees, and identify opportunities to advance and connect displaced workers to good jobs.”

The job of this new working group should go beyond just our short-term economic recovery. The taskforce recommends that the group should also modernize outdated workforce policies that no longer help many Americans secure good jobs or our economy to compete and grow.

“The proposed cabinet working group should develop plans for modernizing the country’s unemployment insurance (UI) system and strengthening worker protections,” the taskforce writes. “Our UI system currently covers only half of workers, and in many states replaces only a small fraction of their wages. A large share of workers lacks basic wage and hour protections.”

“The group should also reimagine the workforce development system to significantly expand and target investments in the skills a modern economy demands, ensure the full integration of technology into the nation’s career navigation and reskilling efforts, foster public-private partnerships, and help workers navigate the confusing training and job markets.”


The op-ed is co-authored by:

  1. Stuart Andreason (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity)
  2. Burt Barnow (George Washington University)
  3. Kisha Bird (CLASP)
  4. Amanda Cage (National Fund for Workforce Solutions)
  5. Mary Clagett (JFF)
  6. Maureen Conway (Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program)
  7. Steve Crawford (GWU Institute of Public Policy)
  8. Maria Flynn (JFF)
  9. Larry Good (Corporation for a Skilled Workforce)
  10. Bob Jones (former Asst. Secretary, ETA/DOL)
  11. Clair Minson (Sandra Grace Consulting)
  12. Todd Greene (WorkRise, Urban Institute)
  13. Annalies Groger (Brookings Institution)
  14. John Irons (New America)
  15. Chris King (Ray Marshall Center, University of Texas)
  16. Jeanine LaPrad (Corporation for a Skilled Workforce)
  17. Ann Lichter
  18. Mary Alice McCarthy (New America)
  19. Sarah Miller (Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta)
  20. Jane Oates (former Asst. Secretary, ETA/DOL)
  21. Brent Parton (New America)
  22. Martha Ross (Brookings Institution)
  23. Bob Sheets (GWU Institute of Public Policy)
  24. Thomas Showalter (National Youth Employment Coalition)
  25. Martin Simon (formerly National Governors Assn.)
  26. Katie Spiker (National Skills Coalition)
  27. Carl Van Horn (Rutgers University Heldrich Center for Workforce Development)
  28. Andy Van Kleunen (National Skills Coalition)