Statement from NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen on the Cabinet Nominations of Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Gina Raimondo  

By Ayobami Olugbemiga, January 08, 2021

Washington, D.C. — The following is a statement from Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition, on President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh for secretary of labor and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo for secretary of commerce:

We congratulate Mayor Walsh and Governor Raimondo and look forward to bringing our network together to partner with both leaders and help build an inclusive recovery. We have to build back better for everyone. We can’t get there without a focus on equity and inclusion. We can’t get there without addressing the disproportionate impact of the economic crisis on workers of color, women, immigrants, and workers with a high school degree or less. And we certainly can’t get there without making generation defining investments in our workforce.

Today’s horrific jobs report, with 140,000 jobs lost in December, is yet another reminder that our country’s lack of a comprehensive and inclusive reemployment strategy continues to hinder our recovery.

Mayor Walsh understands that workforce policy must be part of our reemployment strategy. A proven workforce solution that often gets overlooked is the use of labor-management partnerships to expand economic opportunities for workers and businesses at the local level. Bringing together industry partners – from local labor leaders to employers and educators – is one of the most effective ways to scale the retraining and reemployment of millions of workers and help local industry recover. We are optimistic that Mayor Walsh will bring that perspective to the labor department.

NSC once rated Rhode Island as the best state in the country for its effective use of industry partnerships to develop a skilled workforce. This is in large part because Governor Raimondo consistently prioritized workforce training in her state’s economic development strategy, driven by the Real Jobs Rhode Island initiative. Her experience in bringing workers and industry together will be a great asset to the Biden administration’s “Made in All of America” plan to engage small and mid-sized manufacturers and revitalize their role as engines of local job creation.