Today, the Biden-Harris Administration held an event to launch the Talent Pipeline Challenge, a program to help employers build education and training partnerships to connect American workers to good jobs rebuilding our infrastructure, supply chains, and manufacturing. The Vice President, First Lady, Cabinet Members, and senior administration officials are working to bring major employers, trade associations, training providers, union leaders, and state and local governments together to create good-paying jobs for a diverse group of workers. The Talent Pipeline Challenge’s goal is to create and support programs that provide skills training and match workers with in-demand jobs that will be critical to completing infrastructure projects, including those funded by the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice, Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor and American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, and Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh hosted the Talent Pipeline Challenge event at the White House. They were joined by leading employers, unions, training providers, and industry associations. Today’s event showcased how the summer-long challenge will bring together government, labor, and workforce leaders and highlight effective strategies and partnerships that deliver good jobs for all and equitable workforce development.
The administration officials thanked the participants for being among the first to sign up for the Talent Pipeline Challenge and serving as ambassadors who will work to bring other employers to the table. There was broad agreement that ensuring a reliable and continuing supply of skilled workers for infrastructure projects is critical and that because of the additional demand created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, employers will need to expand their search to communities that historically have been excluded from hiring and training opportunities, including rural, Tribal, and historically under-served communities. Administration officials closed the meeting by emphasizing that partnerships between employers and training providers will ensure that America has a well-trained, highly skilled and diverse workforce ready to strengthen the economic security of communities across the country.
Employers participating in the event voiced their commitment to training investments and partnerships. AT&T CEO John Stankey discussed how the company’s relationship with the Communication Workers of America (CWA) supports their highly-skilled workforce and how the launch of their innovative training program with Corning, a fiber manufacturer, has prepared workers for the broadband sector. Brian Stewart, CEO of The Superior Group, an electrical contractor in Ohio, emphasized their efforts working closely with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) to train and secure credentials for their employees to install electric vehicle chargers through the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). Deryl McKissack, one of the owners of the Black-woman owned construction firm McKissack and McKissack, discussed the importance of creating a pipeline for equitable training and hiring and how she works to recruit more people from underrepresented communities, with a strong focus on Black women, into the construction field.
The organizations in attendance that help facilitate training, in particular community colleges and unions, emphasized the importance of their partnerships with employers. Union leaders from the AFL-CIO, IBEW, CWA, and LiUNA highlighted the importance of ensuring jobs are good-quality union jobs, the value of skills training programs that include wrap-around supports to help underserved workers secure jobs in these sectors, and to the importance of expanding pre-apprenticeships that are connected to registered apprenticeships as a pathway to middle-class jobs for workers from disadvantaged communities. Robert Holsten of Wilson Community College talked about the college’s new and unique partnership with Greenlight utility to train broadband workers. Mayor Purzycki of Wilmington, Delaware praised the flexibility and timing of the Rescue Plan funds to make key investments in training in-demand workers for key sectors, including infrastructure.
Participants in today’s launch event included:
Brian Deese, Director of National Economic Council
Mitch Landrieu, Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator
Carmel Martin, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility
Susan Rice, Domestic Policy Advisor
Gene Sperling, Senior Advisor to the President and American Rescue Plan Coordinator
Department of Labor
Marty Walsh, Secretary of Labor
Brendan Bechtel, CEO, Bechtel
Barbara Humpton, CEO, Siemens USA
Deryl McKissack, President and CEO, McKissack & McKissack
Qiana Spain, Executive VP and Chief HR Officer, Amtrak
John Stankey, CEO, AT&T
Bryan Stewart, CEO, The Superior Group
Wendell Weeks, CEO, Corning
Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association
Gary Bolton, CEO, Fiber Broadband Association
Martin Durbin, Senior Vice President, Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Jonathan Spalter, President & CEO, USTelecom
Kenny Cooper, Secretary Treasurer, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW)
Terry O’Sullivan, President, Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA)
Fred Redmond, Secretary Treasurer, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO)
Chris Shelton, President, Communications Workers of America (CWA)
Training Providers & Intermediaries
Chaton Green, Building Pathways
Rusty Greiff, Chief Strategy Officer, Jobs for the Future
Robert Holsten, VP of Academic Affairs at Wilson Community College (NC)
Jennifer Mefford, National Co-Chair, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP)
Steve Preston, CEO, Goodwill Industries
Jon Schnur, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, America Achieves
Andy Van Kleunen, Chief Executive Officer, National Skills Coalition
Jennifer Worth, Senior VP, Academic & Workforce Development, American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)
Dr. Unique Morris Hughes, Washington, D.C. Dept. of Employment Services
Mayor Mike Purzycki, Wilmington, DE