Members of the National Talent Collaborative Call on Congressional Leaders to Formally Reauthorize the Good Jobs Challenge

 

July 14, 2023

The Honorable Thomas Carper
Chairman
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
513 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510

 

 

The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito
Ranking Member
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee
172 Russell Senate Office Building,
Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Carper and Ranking Member Capito,
We are 20 representatives from 15 leading regions in 14 states, representing more than 3,000 companies and more than 3 million workers. We have come together to form the National Talent Collaborative (NTC), which seeks to blaze new pathways to good jobs and close the gap between talent and opportunity that so many Americans currently face. We appreciate meaningful federal support and partnerships with employers and regional coalitions working on these challenges. As your Committee considers the first reauthorization of the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in nearly 20 years, we urge you to embrace the important role EDA has established by formally authorizing the Build Back Better Regional Challenge (BBBRC) and Good Jobs Challenge (GJC). This request builds on a letter to Congress from a group of National Talent Collaborative members last year calling for appropriations for these and other place-based programs with
business leadership driving economic and talent development. 

In their first and only respective competitions, these programs from EDA provided critically important support for local and regional, business-led efforts to advance talent and workforce development as a central element of regional economic growth, job creation, and sustainable development in our communities. As you begin deliberations on this important reauthorization, we ask for your help in ensuring that the federal government continues to provide targeted resources for this vital work.

Our companies, communities, and country face severe shortages of workers with needed skills at a critical moment, as our industries and communities are helping lead a technological transformation that is historic in its scope and scale. Continued innovation will drive local and nationwide economic progress and competitiveness, but only if we close the job-ready talent gap that is a major obstacle to the economic growth of our businesses, our regions, and our country. Successful local talent systems and strategies are a win-win-win: providing employers with a vital workforce, providing American workers with pathways to careers and good jobs, and enabling our communities and country to advance a healthy economy and maintain our national security. In order to meet this challenge, we must prepare, hire, and retain talent across all geographic, racial, and socio-economic backgrounds.

The competitive grants created by the BBBRC and GJC provided critical funding to help communities and regions across the country advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and the educational and workforce opportunities needed to equip current and future workers with the necessary skills to pursue good jobs and drive economic growth. The BBBRC and GJC required groups to work together to submit an application – and through that process were able to catalyze extraordinary activity from a broad range of coalitions.

After only one round, the demand was clear. The GJC received over 500 applications for 32 final awards to invest in innovative approaches to workforce development that will secure job opportunities for more than 50,000 Americans. Over 500 applicants applied to the historic BBBRC for one of just 21 final awards to boosteconomic recovery from the pandemic and rebuild American communities, including those grappling with decades of disinvestment. While only a small fraction of these proposals from cross-sector regional coalitions were able to be funded, the planning and collaboration across industry – as well as across levels of government, education and training providers, philanthropy, and community-based organizations – has proven to be substantial. That process has also primed the regions that did not win for further regional development opportunities, including if and when future funds become available.

Our aim is to close the gap between talent and opportunity by creating new pathways for people to attain the skills they need to take on good jobs in in-demand sectors. This is why we are stepping up locally, as well as asking the federal government to build on recent momentum and continue to be a supportive partner through the formal reauthorization of these programs. Thank you for your important leadership in this historic time. We would be delighted to speak with you further about this purpose-driven work to build competitiveness and opportunity in our country.

Sincerely,

  • Douglas A. Wilson – Chair, CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County & Founding Chair, National Talent Collaborative (Laguna Beach, CA)
  • Jon Schnur – CEO, America Achieves (New York, NY)
  • Jason Kloth – President & CEO, Ascend Indiana (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Maud S. Daudon – Executive Leader, Career Connect Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • Brett Perlman – CEO, Center for Houston’s Future (Houston, TX)
  • Melina Kennedy – Chief Executive Officer, Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (Indianapolis, IN)
  • Mark Percy – President, CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County (Aliso Viejo, CA)
  • Claire Greenwood – Senior Vice President, Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia
  • (Philadelphia, PA)
  • Kenny McDonald – President & CEO, The Columbus Partnership (Columbus, OH)
  • Bob Harvey – President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership (Houston, TX)
  • Peter Frosch – President and CEO, GREATER MSP (St. Paul, MN)
  • Michael Hecht – President & CEO, Greater New Orleans, Inc. (New Orleans, LA)
  • Kathy Hollinger – Chief Executive Officer, Greater Washington Partnership (Washington, DC)
  • Michael Kelly – Executive Director, The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs (Los
  • Angeles, CA)
  • Jay Ash – CEO, MACP (Boston, MA)
  • Kathy Henrich – CEO, MKE Tech Hub Coalition (Milwaukee, WI)
  • Thomas Giordano – Executive Director, Partnership for Rhode Island (Providence, RI)
  • Richard Gochnauer, Chairman and GP, SC Master Fund & Co-Founder, National Talent Committee
  • (Laguna Beach, CA)
  • Kevin Stotts – President, TalentFirst (Grand Rapids, MI)
  • Bemetra Simmons – President and CEO, Tampa Bay Partnership (Tampa, FL)


Note: While all signing organizations are members of the National Talent Collaborative, this letter does not reflect the views of all National Talent Collaborative members, or employers within the signing organizations, and should not be interpreted as such.