Workforce Education Is Key to Economic Prosperity

Gary Toebben

April 28, 2015

Last Friday in Washington, D.C., the L.A. Area Chamber and UNITE-LA were invited to a White House Summit on Upskilling America. Nearly 400 leaders from business, labor, education, foundations and nonprofits from across the country gathered with Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to share initiatives and big ideas on building a competitive business climate and a stronger middle class by investing in educational programs to better equip America’s workforce. 

The summit was a follow-up to President Obama’s State of the Union address in January in which he called on businesses to invest in America’s workforce with the launch of Upskill America. Heeding the President’s call for action, more than 150 employers have made commitments to Upskill America, which is being led by Vice President Biden.

Vice President Biden applauded the initiatives of Chamber member company UPS for their innovative apprenticeships, extensive training programs and new state of the art training facilities to onramp veterans and the long-term unemployed. The White House also recognized the distinguished work of Chamber member companies CVS, McDonald’s, Kaiser Permanente, Bank of America, IBM, Walmart, Grifols and Pepsico.  

Employers shared with Secretary of Education Duncan ways in which the administration could help businesses increase on the job training, apprenticeships, credentials and certifications through educational benefits and flexible funding. Secretary of Labor Perez cited examples of transformative, employer-led workforce training programs and Secretary of Labor Pritzker emphasized the essentiality of workforce development for global competitiveness. 

The L.A. Area Chamber was the only chamber of commerce invited to the summit and White House highlighted UNITE-LA’s recent report documenting businesses that are encouraging their employees to pursue postsecondary education to improve their earning potential. The report highlights companies like AEG that is investing in the education of their employees “because our company is only as good as our employees and it’s important that we invest in their growth and development,” according to CEO Dan Beckerman. Beckerman is leading a new company-wide Talent Management Program that will provide AEG’s 27,000 employees with a career track for advancement.

We invite CEOs and HR professionals to review the UNITE-LA report and join us as in mobilizing L.A. County businesses to be magnets for top talent and make our region an even better place to live, work and do business.

And that's The Business Perspective.

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