Building America’s “Ever-Ready” Workforce

Business Roundtable members create good-paying careers across all sectors of the U.S. economy. Delivering the skills and knowledge Americans need to succeed starts early with childhood education, and continues through higher ed and work-based learning, like apprenticeships and internships. CEOs support policies and initiatives that enable lifelong learning to deliver upward mobility, advance broader economic opportunity and ensure U.S. global competitiveness in the 21st century and well beyond. 

Ensuring that all Americans have the education and skills they need to succeed and thrive in good-paying jobs that become good-paying careers is especially important now, as millions of jobs are currently unfilled, and millions of Americans are not working. Access to high-quality learning is also important to creating greater diversity, equity and inclusion in the U.S. workforce.

Business Roundtable members are committed to closing the skills gap that underlies these numbers — a gap that has been widened by an accelerated demand for new digital and tech skills to support increased innovation in the workplace. In recent surveys, Business Roundtable CEOs have indicated record plans for hiring while also identifying finding and retaining qualified workers as a significant challenge to their company’s U.S. investment, hiring and growth plans in the near term.

Business Roundtable CEOs are taking action on two fronts. They are both supporting public policies and leading initiatives that provide education and training opportunities. Through their advocacy and corporate actions, CEOs of America’s largest employers are committed to ensuring that apprenticeships, internships and other work-based learning programs are more accessible and provide pathways to careers and greater economic opportunity for more Americans. 

Over 80 Business Roundtable member companies — and counting — are participating in a new multi-year targeted effort to reform companies’ hiring and talent management practices to emphasize the value of skills, rather than just credentials or degrees, and to improve equity, diversity and workplace culture. The new initiative will support efforts to address inequity in employment practices, including how people are hired and how they advance; and it will work toward eliminating unintentional bias that may prove to be a barrier to hiring and advancement.

Business Roundtable CEOs urge policymakers to work together to modernize the nation’s workforce development system to better serve U.S. workers and employers, ensure our country’s sustained economic growth, and deliver greater opportunity for all Americans. Policymakers should consider reforms to the workforce development system that ensure that the United States remains globally competitive. They have a critical opportunity to narrow the skills and wealth gaps and respond to employers’ and workers’ evolving needs through policies that create a flexible, efficient, and effective system.

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