We had a busy day yesterday. We wrote and distributed a news release urging the incoming Obama administration to focus on helping at-risk young people succeed in school and on the job as part of its agenda to strengthen America’s economy and enhance global competitiveness.
Part of the news release contained information that we sent earlier in the day to John Podesta, the former White House chief of staff who is heading the transition team for President-elect Obama.
Here’s what Donna Klein, president and founder of Corporate Voices, said in the news release and letter:
Congratulations on the successful campaign and victory of President-elect Barack Obama. We know his first priority will be to strengthen our economy. And linked to our economic prosperity and competitiveness is our commitment to ensuring that our young people succeed in school and on the job. Without educational opportunities and career paths for our young people – many now at risk of not succeeding – our nation’s businesses cannot compete globally.
While we recognize that the Obama administration will make solving the serious high school dropout problem a priority, we cannot ignore the more than 4.3 million disconnected young people who have already been failed by our existing education and workforce systems. We encourage the Obama administration to commit to creating alternative career pathways for disconnected youth as part of the economic stimulus agenda.
One area of particular challenge is that far too many young people lack the skills they need to make successful transitions to school, work and life. These workforce readiness gaps translate directly into entry-level talent gaps for employers, and impact business competitiveness in a global economy.