‘We must build workers’ skills more effectively to ensure a bright economic future’

Ivanka Trump has it right in her recent letter to the Dallas Morning News. When our employer partners are asked what the most frequent barriers are to meeting their hiring needs, education and skills are routinely listed in their top five. The workforce system has stepped up to fill these gaps, but resources (like Pell grants) are not well aligned to meet the short-term training needs of today’s worker.  In industry’s like Information Technology, what are critical skills today may be outdated a month from now. This makes it nearly impossible for technical schools, colleges, and universities to remain up to date with curricula that prepares workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow. Freeing up resources such as Pell grants to cover costs associated with shorter term training will create opportunities for companies to grow their talent.

Midwest Urban Strategies (MUS) works hand-in-hand with employers, brokering resources and relationships to get them the skilled workforce that they need. As a consortium of urban workforce boards, MUS connects emerging talent to career-track opportunities in high volume industries such as Information Technology, Health Care, Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Construction. Using work-based learning strategies like Registered Apprenticeship, MUS connects supply to demand with a focus on equity and job quality.

Leaders in urban workforce development from Pittsburgh to Wichita have joined forces to showcase high quality training programs that yield new talent for its business partners. MUS has advocated for improvements in the job training field, focusing its efforts on improved alignment and targeted investment of economic and workforce development (training) resources.  The 13 members of MUS (Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Gary/Valparaiso (Ind.), Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Wichita) welcome smart changes like those proposed by Ms. Trump to bolster the nation’s economic growth.