Work-and-Learn: A Model for Building the 21st Century Workforce

Every day, we hear from America’s business leaders on challenges of all shapes and sizes – but one issue remains a top priority: the skills gap. Our CEOs know that the health of their companies and, ultimately, of the economy relies on a workforce equipped with the skills and competencies needed to succeed in the jobs of today and tomorrow.

While the investments we can make to fill the talent pipeline take many forms, we recently talked to our member CEOs about work-and-learn. This innovative approach to on-the-job training is showing real success – and even greater potential – when it comes to effective ways to close the skills gap.

Here is just some of what CEOs told us about the power of work-and-learn:

“AT&T will only be as good of a company as the people we employ,” said AT&T Chairman and CEO and Chairman of Business Roundtable Randall Stephenson, whose company operates a number of innovative work-and-learn offerings. “We are using these programs to widen, develop and diversify the talent pipeline.” (Video)

“What we have found is the biggest gaps are in the new advanced manufacturing production processes,” said Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris of The Dow Chemical Company, a company that depends on highly skilled talent to compete. “We’ve been going to community colleges and upgrading their curricula. We’ve been going to displaced workforces and high school graduates and retooling and reskilling them.” (Video)

“We have to turn really motivated, highly energetic, passionate folks into shipbuilders when they come in our gates,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Petters of Huntington Ingalls Industries, describing the company’s apprenticeship program at Newport News Shipbuilding. “We know this works, because the people we invest in stay with us.” (Video)

To better connect companies to the right training model and inspire them to take action, Business Roundtable, through the National Network of Business and Industry Associations, an effort we co-lead with ACT Foundation, just published Work-and-Learn in Action. This guidebook explores 15 innovative and successful models for incorporating work-and-learn programs into workforce development efforts. Business Roundtable members, including AT&T and Huntington Ingalls Industries, among others, are featured in the guide.

The solutions to the workforce challenges we face are complex – starting in the kindergarten classroom and extending long after high school graduation. That’s why Business Roundtable is taking a multipronged approach to confront these issues head on.

We are a leading voice in urging policymakers to enact legislation to modernize and improve the U.S. education system and raise the bar for students and schools – from advocating strong accountability in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to calling for a modernized Higher Education Act to urging lawmakers to ensure career and technical education programs authorized under the Perkins Act are aligned with employer needs.

We’re also building public-private partnerships to better connect what students are learning to what businesses need. Through our work with the Business Higher Education Forum, we’re bringing together leaders from the business community and higher education to develop curricula in data analytics and financial services.

Just as the skills gap did not develop overnight, the solution to the challenges faced by employers will take time to come to fruition. At Business Roundtable, we are committed to moving the workforce of today – and of the future – forward.

Dane Linn is a Vice President for the Business Roundtable.  In this role, he oversees the Education & Workforce Committee, advancing the BRT’s positions on education reform, U.S. innovation capacity and workforce preparedness.


Tech Brief: White House Supports FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal

The White House weighed in on the net neutrality debate, with deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issuing a statement in support of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll back rules instituted by the 2015 Open Internet Order. President Donald Trump stopped short of filing comments with the FCC on the matter, but Sanders said that the issue should be resolved through congressional legislation.

Tech Brief: Internet Association Asks FCC to Keep Net Neutrality

The Internet Association, a group that represents major tech companies including Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc., is officially calling on the Federal Communications Commission to keep net neutrality rules in place. In comments filed with the agency, the Internet Association noted that a net neutrality repeal could cause damage to the markets and limit innovation.

Tech Brief: House Bill Requires Pentagon to Report Russian Hacking

House lawmakers voted to advance an amendment to the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act that would require the Pentagon to report attempts by Russian hackers to break into its network. The amendment was approved by the full House, and comes amid heightened concerns regarding Kremlin-backed cyberattacks and hacks that have targeted the United States and its allies across the world.

Tech Brief: AT&T Joins Net Neutrality ‘Day of Action’

AT&T Inc. announced that it will participate in today’s internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality, despite supporting Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to roll back the 2015 Open Internet Order. An AT&T executive wrote a blog post saying that the wireless provider wanted to show its support for “preserving and advancing an open internet.”

Tech Brief: Microsoft Plans to Expand Rural Broadband Using ‘White Space’

Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith is expected to announce support for TV white-space technology, which the company says is a frugal way to tap into unused television bandwidth and bring broadband access to rural communities. The company will also reportedly work with rural telecommunications companies on at least 12 projects in 12 states over the next two years to bring broadband connectivity to at least 2 million rural Americans by July 2022.

Load More