Michael Tamasi was called to the White House to share AccuRounds’ successes in building a partnership to re-employ local residents in the manufacturing industry. A number of organizations promoting the national expansion of sector partnerships were also in attendance, including National Skills Coalition, (National Fund for Workforce Solutions), and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships. Other event participants included CEOs from national corporations such as Boeing Co., Bank of America and Ebay, small and medium-sized employers, foundations, and other local organizations working to help the long-term unemployed in a variety of ways.
Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined President Obama at the event to discuss a number of new efforts by the Obama Administration to bring attention to the long-term unemployed. President Obama announced he is dedicating $150 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Labor for “job-driven training partnerships,” also known as sector partnerships, to help the long-term unemployed get back to work, building on the successful models developed by such organizations as AccuRounds.
Prior to this event, President Obama, along with Vice-President Biden, Secretary Perez and Secretary Pritzker, convened twenty of the top CEO’s in the country to share best practices and strategize on how to collaborate in moving successful initiatives forward. Tamasi was one of only two small businesses to participate in this forum. This intimate roundtable discussion was productive, with Tamasi providing input from a small business perspective, asking the Fortune 100 CEO’s to include SME’s in future dialogue to assure that the entire supply chain has a voice.
“It was an honor to represent AccuRounds, and small businesses across the country, at the White House”, said Tamasi. “It’s encouraging that small business had a voice at the CEO roundtable, and that needs to continue. The skills gap is a serious issue and sector partnerships are the best opportunity to close that gap.” Later that afternoon, Tamasi was a guest on the Fox Business News show “After the Bell” further stressing the importance of sector partnerships in closing the huge skills gap in America.
AccuRounds, located in Avon, MA, is a contract manufacturer that machines and assembles precision turned components for industries including medical, aerospace, semiconductor and emerging technology. For more information, visit www.accurounds.com
I had the privilege of participating in the Business Leaders United Fly-In to Capital Hill in Washington D.C. earlier this week representing the Precision Machined Products Association.
In our Monday evening meeting we were joined by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzger, and from the White House, Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy.
The fact that we got to meet with top staffers at various Senate and House offices, as well as staffers from the Senate HELP (Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions) Committee convinced me that we had the attention of the folks who could make a difference in Washington, D.C..
I spoke with top staff assistants handling policy for Speaker Boehner and Senator Portman from my home state of Ohio.
We had substantive and frank discussions about the facts (on which we all seemed to agree) and possible solutions for this issue.
What worked – creating employer driven partnerships- even among competitors- summer youth programs, quantifying local area opportunities and job market research to make the career case- was shared and explored.
The challenges- lack of educational attainment, lack of ‘soft skills,’ and various funding issues were also discussed.
It is no longer about admitting that we have a lack of skilled workers in the ‘unemployed workforce.’
There was no evidence of denial of the problem of unemployment and lack of skills.
What all of our contacts asked about was centered around three key questions:
- What works to help us qualify and put to work long term unemployed in middle skill jobs?
- How do we build the ROI case for this?
- How do we scale it nationwide?
My fellow small business delegates from BLU shared some of their challenges, but more importantly, their success stories of their local partnerships.
What Washington wants/needs to know is how can we build these up to gain national traction?
What would you suggest?