NSC Partners and Business Leaders United Contribute to U.S. Departments of Commerce and Labor Job Quality Framework, Join White House Administration in Launch of Job Quality Toolkit

August 05, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – August 5, 2022 – National Skills Coalition (NSC) CEO Andy Van Kleunen along with Rick Plympton, CEO, Optimax Systems, Inc., Deborah Rowe, VP, Nursing Workforce Development, Genesis Healthcare, and partners from Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships, joined the United States Departments of Commerce and Labor for the White House launch of the Job Quality Framework.

Both NSC and Business Leaders United partners provided valuable input to the Administration in helping to identify the drivers of job quality. Business Leaders United is an initiative of NSC. They are working with local partners to train and hire community residents for skilled jobs and want our country’s policymakers to follow suit and invest – aggressively and effectively – in the skills of America’s workers. The drivers identified in the toolkit include 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.

Business Leaders United also contributed case studies that supplement the framework. Optimax Systems, Inc., Genesis Healthcare, SoDel Concepts (restaurant group), Journey Discovery Center (daycare), Clark Maine Marine, Embraer (airplane engines), and Gale Rew Construction are each highlighted with a case study outlining how these businesses have invested in job quality and the impact it has had on their individual workforces.

“We applaud the Departments of Commerce and Labor for producing this toolkit, and for reaching out to small- and medium-sized businesses in our Business Leaders United network to better understand how their partnerships with other stakeholders could serve as models for expanding job quality within their respective industries,” said Andy Van Kleunen, NSC CEO. “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.”

“At Optimax, our mission is to enable customer success and employee prosperity,” said Rick Plympton, Optimax CEO. “We manufacture precision optics for research and industry; and take great pride in being a key supplier to NASA for many of their missions. Optimax believes that investing in employees and ensuring a healthy work-life balance is essential to being successful. By building a self-lead culture, employees are empowered to identify innovations and efficiencies that will reduce expenses and/or help the company grow faster. Optimax averages 25% annual revenue growth and rewards the employees with 25% profit sharing each month. We hope that sharing our journey and our cultural practices will help inspire ideas for other companies to embark on a better path centered around the seven tenets of job quality.”

“Genesis Healthcare is on a continuum of improving key drivers of job quality that are important to each and every employee,” said Deborah Rowe MS, RN, PHR, CHCR, VP, Nursing Workforce Development at Genesis Healthcare. “The care and health of employees, along with patients and residents, is at the core of our mission. The development of our affiliated workforce is a top priority as we listen to what employees want and value. The Job Quality Toolkit is a myriad of best practices and strategies supported by research and most of all, business case studies. While Genesis has been on this continual path to improve job quality, this toolkit is a beginning point to assess where you are and offers steps in your plan to implement and evaluate outcomes. We wish you success!”

Scott Kammerer, President of SoDel Concepts, added: “We strive to create an environment of professionalism that includes job security, benefits, and systems for career advancement and longevity. It is our hope that through the practices we outline in the Job Quality Toolkit, the restaurant industry as a whole will move in this direction, realizing that job security and investment in employees creates sustainable businesses, increased profits, and potential for growth.”

Nicole Sohn, Co-Founder of Journey Discovery Center, stated: “Providing high quality work experiences for our employees is the heart and foundation of our business. This has always been true, but now more than ever, and as employers struggle to attract and retain employees, focusing on employee engagement is critical. We hope that the success we have had relative to current market conditions is helpful to others as we all struggle to build out of this pandemic and workforce climate together.”



National Skills Coalition fights for inclusive, high-quality skills training so that people have access to a better life, and local businesses see sustained growth. We engage in analysis and technical assistance, organizing, advocacy, and communications to improve state and federal skills policies.


Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships is an initiative of National Skills Coalition (national, nonpartisan 501c3). Through outreach, education, and targeted policy advocacy, Business Leaders United has changed state and federal skills training policies for more than a decade, promoting solutions that help build the skilled workforce that businesses need to grow and thrive.