The WORK report laid out the widening skills gap threatening America’s prosperity and called for the establishment of a National Skills Agenda to help fix it.
“I’m thrilled that the Senators have chosen to focus on issues affecting the American worker,” said Deborah Wince-Smith, President & CEO, Council on Competitiveness. “What could be more timely as so many Americans are dealing with uncertainty in the marketplace, questions about the security of their jobs, and rapid disruptions across many sectors of the economy."
“We live in a fiercely competitive global economy and for American businesses to compete, we need the skills and the resources in our workforce to outperform and we need the ideas, the policy ideas, to help them to do so,” Sen. Coons said at the event.
“Radical changes are underway in the workforce landscape, highlighted by a shift to knowledge-intensive industries and jobs,” said Bill Bates, Executive Vice President, Council on Competitiveness and panel moderator. “Those who adapt to this change will prosper, but without a proactive and coordinated strategy, we will be leaving far too many workers behind.”
The Senate Competitiveness Caucus, launched in May 2015, now has a dozen members. One of the newest is Sen. Angus King (I-ME), who years ago pushed Maine to purchase laptops for all students.
“We can compete with anybody in the world, but we have to provide our people with the tools and that starts with education,” said Sen. King. “Everywhere I go in Maine today, the number one issue businesses bring up is qualified people. We need qualified people.”
Nick Pinchuk runs Snap-on Incorporated – a major manufacturing company in Kenosha, WI. He applauded the WORK report's findings and was all business in addressing the Senators to act. “Don’t mistake an endorsement for support,” said Pinchuk. “Everyone walks the halls “for” manufacturing. Let’s support the National Skills Agenda. It’s an urgent time, but the U.S. worker can do it.”
Since its founding 30 years ago, the Council on Competitiveness has emphasized the key linkage between workforce skills and U.S. competitiveness, and analyzed emerging trends.
The Council is partnering with the Senate Competitiveness Caucus in releasing the WORK report to spur on new ideas to promote a more competitive workforce. The Council sees the WORK report as a road map to help unleash American innovation and sharpen the U.S. Competitive edge, leading to higher standards of living for all.
“Members of the Senate Competitiveness Caucus understand that we are now competing with every country, every government, every worker and every business on the planet,” said Deborah Wince-Smith. “Congress must come together to turn our economic challenges into opportunities for growth.”
The release of the WORK report is one of many joint efforts between the Council on Competitiveness – a unique group of leaders from industry, labor, academia and national labs – and the Senate Competitiveness Caucus.