Pathway to the Future: How Workforce Development and Quality Jobs Can Promote Quality Care Conference Package. Foreword

05/01/2004

Over the past decade, a set of workforce development policies and strategies has emerged to meet the needs of both businesses and low-wage, low skilled workers. In some cases, the results have been nothing less than remarkable: employers are finding a well-trained competitive workforce while at the same time workers are being placed in jobs that can sustain their families.

The opportunity exists to spread this workforce intermediary approach, as this Assembly has named it, to a wider array of existing institutions in order to achieve greater impact. Achieving this impact will not be easy. Employers and job training providers simply adopting “promising workforce practices” won’t get the job done.

The challenge ahead is about transforming workforce development practices in a variety of institutional settings, such as community colleges, workforce boards, labor unions, employer associations, and community organizations. It is about creating and sustaining entrepreneurial organizations that have the commitment and capacity for innovation and to build partnerships, learn, change directions, and relentlessly pursue results.

Transforming workforce development practices, however, will only occur if there is top-level leadership committed to this agenda. Public and private workforce development resources must lay the groundwork to support the pursuit and achievement of substantial results.

The report of this American Assembly provides hope and, most importantly, direction for a broad spectrum of workforce practitioners, business organizations, and advocates who are ready to take on this challenge. Given the current and impending workforce crises that threaten the future of America’s families and businesses, the time is right.

We are proud to have supported and participated in this important civic dialogue. But this is just the beginning. We look forward to working in collaboration with our workforce development colleagues to advance this critical agenda in the months and years to come.

Betsy Biemann
John Colborn
Robert Giloth
Co-directors
The 102nd American Assembly

At the close of their discussions, the participants in the 102nd American Assembly on “Achieving Worker Success and Business Prosperity: The New Role for Workforce Intermediaries,” at Arden House, Harriman, New York, February 6-9, 2003 reviewed as a group the following statement. The statement represents general agreement; however, no one was asked to sign it. Furthermore, it should be understood that not everyone agreed with all of it.

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