Work-based learning opportunities like apprenticeship, on-the-job training, and career and technical education with a worksite component are time-tested ways to train workers for skilled positions in today’s economy. Through work-based learning programs, employers can hire qualified, skilled, and loyal employees; and employees acquire new skills, gain industry-recognized credentials, and earn higher wages.
BLU advocates for policies and tax credits that support apprenticeship and other work-based learning.
BLU's 'Policies that Work' brief on work-based learning outlines the value of these programs and recommends important policy changes to support businesses interested in launching or expanding these strategies in their own place of work.
Industry partnerships bring together multiple employers within an industry to collaborate with colleges, schools, labor, workforce agencies, community organizations and other stakeholders to align education and training with the skills needed for that industry to grow and compete.
These workforce partnerships can address skill shortages; develop talent pipelines of skilled workers to meet future demand; promote industry growth and competitiveness; and improve training, retention, and advancement of workers at all skill levels - including the lowest skilled.
BLU works to create these partnerships in various industries in regions across the country. BLU members advocate for state and federal policies that support the creation and maintenance of public-private industry partnerships, and for targeting education and training dollars to the needs of regional industries, economies, and workers.
COLLEGE AID FOR CURRENT WORKERS
Our businesses are held back by a skills gap – there aren’t enough workers trained with the skills employers need to fill in order to thrive. Education can help bridge the skills gap, but tuition assistance is often out of reach for part-time students, students enrolled in non-credit vocational classes or short-term credential programs at local community colleges. Most federal tuition assistance is oriented toward “traditional” college students and not career-oriented working adults. That means not only is there a real mismatch between need and availability of tuition assistance, but we aren’t investing in education that’s tied to the job market.
Working people and businesses should be able to access the skills that drive economic growth. That’s why BLU supports efforts to tie education and training to labor market demand and employer-relevant skill needs. Key efforts include making education and workforce data available to students and employers and making tuition assistance (including access to Pell Grants) more job driven.
INDUSTRY-RESPONSIVE CAREER & TECHNICAL EDUCATION
Across the nation, businesses are partnering with career and technical education (CTE) programs at their community colleges and high schools to develop talent pipelines. The Carl D. Perkins Act is the primary federal funding stream for CTE programs – providing more than $1 billion a year to support the development and expansion of high-quality training and education – but it has been a decade since Congress last updated the law, meaning it is no longer keeping up with demands of today’s economy.
BLU advocates for strengthening Perkins to include dedicated support for partnerships between CTE providers and industry, and expanding work-based learning so CTE students get hands-on experience they need to succeed on the job.more » « less