Why We Need New Workplace Partnerships for Skills Development

On April 20, 2004, the Task Force on Workforce Development, a group of labor, business and policy experts co-sponsored by the Albert Shanker Institute and New Economy Information Service, issued a new report that calls for far-reaching changes in the way our country manages its work-force skills and training efforts. The report argues that, as technological change and global competition buffet our labor markets, the U.S. needs to do far more to help incumbent workers keep their jobs and prepare for new, high-skilled employment opportunities. While acknowledging several recent proposals to improve workforce skills, the report also says that “political leadership on all sides has yet to give adequate attention to this challenge.” In addition, “labor must now consider its traditional role in training and credentialing workers as one of the major missions of the modern labor movement,” said Morton Bahr, president of the Communication Workers of America and task force co-chair.