This week has been designated Workforce Development Week and President Donald Trump and his daughter Ivanka have been visiting active workforce development programs in Wisconsin. While the attention has been focused on apprenticeship and vocational programs, we are hopeful that the link to entry-level basic skills programs will also be noted.
This week, the House of Representatives is holding a general workforce development hearing concerning the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. This hearing will focus on implementation and not the important issue of insufficient resources, but it is valuable for general exposure.
Finally, a meeting of governors, the president, and his daughter will wrap up this week with a focus on model programs. This is particularly noteworthy because the National Governors Association has recently sent a formal request to Congress asking that there be no cuts to workforce development programs. This is an unusual and positive sign of bipartisan support for workforce and basic skills programs.
We remain concerned that the attention will not generate any additional resources and is happening at a time when the administration is suggesting reduced funding. Still, it is an opportunity for us to continue to make our case to friends in Congress and the private sector. This last audience of private funders has significant potential for programs across the nation, particularly for community-based providers. We should take this opportunity to also look to businesses, foundations, and large corporations for additional support to benefit the workforce they depend upon for skilled employees.