The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation recently launched a new nationwide initiative designed to speed up industry and government action to address America’s deepening worker shortage crisis.
According to new data published by the U.S. Chamber:
- There are now half as many available workers for every open job across the country as there have been on average over the past 20 years; and
- 91% of state and local chambers of commerce say work shortages are holding back their economies.
Through this new initiative, “America Works,” the U.S. Chamber is advocating for – and rallying businesses to urge – federal and state policy changes to help train more Americans for high-demand jobs, remove barriers to work, and double the number of visas available for legal immigrants.
“This is Operation Warp Speed for jobs,” said U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Suzanne Clark. “The worker shortage is real, and it’s getting worse by the day. American businesses of every size, across every industry, in every state, are reporting unprecedented challenges filling open jobs. The worker shortage is a national economic emergency, and it poses an imminent threat to our fragile recovery and America’s great resurgence.”
The America Works Agenda is a suite of legislative and regulatory solutions designed to eliminate barriers to work for Americans, invest in skills and job training, and reform our country’s broken, outdated immigration system. Specifically, the Agenda calls for:
- Growing federal investments in employer-led job education and training programs;
- Expanding access to childcare for working parents; and
- Doubling the cap on employment-based visas, doubling the quota on H-1B and H-2B visas, and implementing other legal immigration system reforms to help employers fill high-demand jobs in labor-strapped sectors.
“Only by addressing all three challenges can we address our nation’s workforce challenges,” Clark said.
At the same time, the U.S. Chamber Foundation is expanding its best employer-led workforce and job-training programs, to help more businesses develop the talent they need, and help more workers better prepare for the jobs of today and tomorrow:
- The Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management program – an employer-led job-training initiative will expand from its current 35 states to a total of 42 states by 2023, and later this year, will launch a new online learning platform to reach and support more employers and education partners nationwide;
- The Foundation will soon launch the Jobs and Employment Data Exchange [JEDx] initiative to update and streamline job postings, improve hiring analytics and data, and equip workers applying for jobs with better employment and earnings records;
- The Foundation’s Hiring Our Heroes program, which has helped more than 600,000 veterans and military spouses secure jobs, will launch a new program later this year to help connect military vets with high-demand technology careers; and
- The Foundation, partnering with the Society for Human Resource Management, is encouraging and equipping businesses to become “second-chance” employers by hiring ex-offender job candidates.
“Together, we can and we must address our nation’s workforce challenges,” concludes Clark. “With a highly skilled workforce, there’s nothing business cannot achieve, and nothing we as a nation cannot do.”