The Manufacturing Institute/Center for Workforce Success (the research and education arm of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM)) and its partners for Business Champions, has been granted an award of $538,000 to help promote higher education opportunities aimed at closing the skills gap in the workforce.
The Business Champions initiative works with business leadership to support policies that expand educational opportunities focused on building a competitive U.S. workforce.
In conjunction with the American Association of Community Colleges and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, Business Champions will use the grant to improve access and affordability postsecondary students, and prepare more people of all ages and backgrounds for good jobs to meet the growing demands for a skilled workforce in the U.s.
Lumina Foundation is a private, independent organization the helps people achieve access and success in education beyond high school.
“It’s a critical time for business leaders to speak out and support efforts to improve greater student access to and success in college,” said John Engler, president of NAM. “Globally-engaged employers in America are in the fight of their lives for skilled talent. With the baby boom generation retiring, the shortage of skilled employees for today’s high tech workplace is growing worse every year."
According to Martha D. Lamkin, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, education beyond high school is vital to fixing the problem of the low skill level of the American workforce and to restore the U.S.'s leadership role as the world's most educated workforce.
To reach these goals, business leaders, along with elected policymakers, higher education officials and employers in their regions and states, will work towards improving the workforce development capacity of community colleges and reducing the cost of higher education, said Phyllis Eisen, vice president and executive director of The Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Workforce Success.
George R. Boggs, president and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges, noted that while community colleges are the most logical institutions to respond to the urgent need to prepare a more highly skilled workforce, they cannot meet the skills challenges without the help of the business community.