New Workforce Initiatives Announced at Department of Labor’s Vision 2030 Conference

By Laura Walling, Vice President of Government Affairs, Goodwill Industries International

Goodwill Industries International representatives joined other stakeholders for an invitation only event focusing on how to leverage investments from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the CHIPS and Science Act (CHIPS), and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to develop talent pipelines and career pathways.  The “Employment and Training Administration (ETA) Vision 2030: Investing in America’s Workforce” conference included workshops focused on infrastructure, sector and industry partnerships, research and data, and some population specific sessions including youth and young adults and people impacted by the justice system. The first day plenaries detailed below highlighted new workforce initiatives, the second day zeroed in on apprenticeships with the announcement of expansion to the DOL apprenticeship ambassador program, while the final day covered the care economy.

Former New Orleans Mayor, Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor to the President for Infrastructure Implementation and John Podesta, President Biden’s Senior Advisor for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation kicked highlighted progress made to date on creating jobs and training and connecting workers for all backgrounds to these opportunities. Landrieu stressed that the workforce development system is the tip of the spear to bring together communities and partners at the federal, state, and local level.

First Lady Jill Biden’s remarks were timed with the announcement of three new workforce initiatives. The first includes the establishment of “Workforce Hubs” in Baltimore, MD; Phoenix, AZ; Columbus, OH; Pittsburgh, PA; and Augusta, GA. The hubs will bring together employers, labor, worker groups, community colleges, k-12, NGOs, and local governments to create new sectoral partnerships to scale quality training pathways to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce can meet the demand for labor.  There are plans to replicate the work with partners across the country.

An “Advanced Manufacturing Workforce Sprint” is the second intiative where the administration will work directly with private companies and unions to expand apprenticeships and other certification programs necessary for advanced manufacturing jobs and will specifically seek to expand those workforces in “underrepresented communities.

The final initiative included the kickoff of the Good Jobs, Great Cities Academy” in collaboration with the National League of Cities, which will seek to help cities “spur innovative and scalable city-led solutions that upskill and reskill all workers — including those who have too often been left behind — into quality, high-demand jobs in infrastructure, clean energy, and advanced manufacturing.” The 16 cities joining the administration’s academy include: Birmingham, AL; Chattanooga, TN; Duluth, MN; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Frederick, MD; Jamestown, NY; Kokomo, IN; Lansing, MI; Missoula, MT; Monroe, NC; Newark, NJ; San Antonio, TX; Santa Fe, NM; St. Louis, MO; Tacoma, WA; and Tempe, AZ.

The Administration’s Roadmap to Support Good Jobs focuses on four priorities: 1) connecting people to good jobs; 2) ensuring we have a skilled, diverse workforce; 3) boosting education and training efforts so every community can meet its foundational labor needs; and 4) creating good quality, family-sustaining jobs, including union jobs. Workforce development and job training service providers like the 150 local Goodwill organizations around the US will play a critical role and they are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities. The Vision 2030 conference gave Goodwill an important seat at the table.