President Obama talked persuasively about the importance of workforce training during the White House’s “Winning the Future” forum in Cleveland Tuesday. His remarks came in response to a comment from Roy in Temecula, Calif., which we take to be Roy Paulson of Paulson Manufacturing, a manufacturer of safety equipment and a member of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Board of Directors. From the transcript:
MS. [Sarah] BERNARD: We had a lot of questions come in about — or comments and thoughts about preparing the next-generation workforce. Roy in Temeculah, California, noted: The economy develops in pockets and clusters. Why don’t we match this with our workforce development for the best results? We all know that people have many different jobs over their lifetime, and we need to retrain where and when it’s needed — keep it simple, buy it quickly, keep it local. The local aspect allows easy access for the people that need the training, and it’s tailored to the local environment and conditions.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, the answer is in the question. I think that question is spot on. What you find as you travel around the country is that there’s certain regions that are starting to gain expertise in biotech, or they’re starting to gain expertise in advanced battery manufacturing, or they’re starting to gain expertise in a particular industry which requires a particular skill set. And if we can get businesses to partner with local community colleges or local universities and have them help to design the training process for the jobs that already exist, it’s a win-win.
For the businesses, it means that all their workforce training costs are absorbed somewhere else, which is obviously good for their bottom line.
For the students, what it means is that if you actually go through this program, you know that there’s going to be a job at the end of the day because the employers have actually helped to design the program. And so Skills for America’s Future is a program that we’ve been trying to implement that gets those partnerships between businesses and colleges and universities. (continue reading…)