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The Workforce Alliance - Skills, Messaging & a Great Campaign


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Agnes Balassa's presentation to CSW's inaugural WorkforceCamp in April 2009, in San Diego, CA.

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The Workforce Alliance - Skills, Messaging & a Great Campaign

  1. 1. Translating the BIG QUESTIONS into strategies Skills2Compete Agnes Balassa, Regional Field Director
  2. 2. THE BIG QUESTION of the 1990’s • What is the role of training in workforce development?
  3. 3. The federal response: Work First • The notion that “training doesn’t work” drove most policy debates. • Workforce policies had few champions, and the skills issue had no political profile.
  4. 4. Our response: TWA • A national, non-partisan, privately funded advocacy coalition… – 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.
  5. 5. Our scope • WIA – including Adult Basic Education & Family Literacy Act, Rehabilitation Act) • TAA (Trade Adjustment Assistance) • TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) • FSET (Food Stamp Employment & Training) • Carl Perkins • Higher Education Act (includes Pell grants) • Federal Funding • Green Jobs • ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) • SECTORS (Strengthening Employment Clusters to Organize Regional Success – newly introduced)
  7. 7. • A unifying message • Measurable goal • Connects with larger debates about economy and education OFFERS THE FIELD
  8. 8. 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. Skills2Compete
  9. 9. 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 market. • The workforce of today is the workforce of tomorrow. • Multiple pathways.
  10. 10. 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, 2004-2014
  11. 11. A Middle-Skill Gap America’s Jobs & Workers by Skill Level, 2004
  12. 12. WHAT S2C OFFERS TWA Opportunity to rethink how we do our work: • Presence • Projects • Staffing • Resources • Metrics
  13. 13. S2C: building stakeholder buy-in • Strategies to move from policy platform to campaign – Create new leadership council – Create a new advocacy tool kit – Expanding our base • Statewide campaigns
  14. 14. the Skills gap Tool Kit: The Report
  15. 15. Tool Kit: New brochure with key talking points
  16. 16. Tool Kit: New Website
  17. 17. Expanding the base • State campaigns –S2C creates state policy opportunities. –Puts the local back into local organizing. –Creates a new allies and a greater buzz…
  18. 18. • 3 campaigns launched • Thumbs up from our stakeholders • Media coverage Results
  20. 20. Results “…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 school diploma.” President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, February 24, 2009
  21. 21. National lessons applied to the local level. Examples from the Enterprise for Employment and Education and the Lane Workforce Partnership.
  22. 22. Lessons learned • 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.
  23. 23. Agnes Balassa Regional Field Director (West) The Workforce Alliance 503.991.5853