The Workforce Alliance - Skills, Messaging & a Great Campaign
Agnes Balassa, Regional Field Director
THE BIG QUESTION of the 1990’s
• What is the role
of training in
The federal response: Work First
• The notion that “training
doesn’t work” drove most
• Workforce policies had few
champions, and the skills
issue had no political profile.
Our response: TWA
• A national, non-partisan, privately funded
– of employers, labor, education and training
providers, workforce investment boards and
public workforce officials.
– devoted to expanding access to training in the
publicly funded workforce system.
• WIA – including Adult Basic Education &
Family Literacy Act, Rehabilitation Act)
• TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance)
• TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy
• FSET (Food Stamp Employment & Training)
• Carl Perkins
• Higher Education Act (includes Pell grants)
• Federal Funding
• Green Jobs
• ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment
• SECTORS (Strengthening Employment
Clusters to Organize Regional Success –
START A NEW CONVERSATION
• A unifying message
• Measurable goal
• Connects with
about economy and
OFFERS THE FIELD
Every U.S. worker should have
• access to the equivalent of at least
two years of education or training
past high school
• leading to a vocational credential,
industry certification, or one's first
two years of college
• to be pursued at whatever point
and pace makes sense for
individual workers and industries
• And access to the basic skills
needed to pursue such education.
Research based messages
• The largest segment of jobs in
our economy require more than
a high school diploma, but less
than a four year degree.
• These jobs in the middle are
the forgotten core of labor
• The workforce of today is the
workforce of tomorrow.
• Multiple pathways.
Demand for Middle-Skill Jobs is Strong,
Will Remain Strong in the U.S.
U.S. Jobs by Skill Level, 2006
U.S. Job Openings by Skill Level,
A Middle-Skill Gap
America’s Jobs &
Workers by Skill
WHAT S2C OFFERS TWA
Opportunity to rethink how we do our work:
S2C: building stakeholder buy-in
• Strategies to move from policy platform to
– Create new leadership council
– Create a new advocacy tool kit
– Expanding our base
• Statewide campaigns
the Skills gap
Tool Kit: The Report
Tool Kit: New
Tool Kit: New Website
Expanding the base
• State campaigns
–S2C creates state policy opportunities.
–Puts the local back into local organizing.
–Creates a new allies and a greater
• 3 campaigns
• Thumbs up from
• Media coverage
SECTORS ACT INTRODUCED TO CONGRESS
“…I ask every American to commit to at least one year or
more of higher education or career training. This can be
community college or a four-year school; vocational
training or an apprenticeship. But whatever the training
may be, every American will need to get more than a high
President Barack Obama, State of the Union
Address, February 24, 2009
National lessons applied to the
Examples from the Enterprise for
Employment and Education and
the Lane Workforce Partnership.
• Messaging matters.
• It pays to be media savvy.
• Persistence pays off.
• Those who bridge networks matter most
• Think carefully about branding up front.
• Always lead with a compelling story.
Regional Field Director (West)
The Workforce Alliance