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At our annual meeting in March, Corporate Voices will be joined by three leadersImage of The Campaign to Fix the Debt for a lively discussion on the country’s debt crisis, the threat it poses to our global competitiveness and prosperity–and how U.S. companies must be involved in the solutions. The Campaign is a nonpartisan movement to put America on a better fiscal and economic path. It has been busy mobilizing key communities–including many prominent business leaders–and individuals from a variety of social, economic and political perspectives who want to see elected officials step up to solve our nation’s enormous fiscal challenges.

Panelists will include:Image

  • Former U.S. Congressman Victor Fazio, who served for 20 years as a member of Congress, representing California’s 3rd District. During his tenure of distinguished public service, Hon. Fazio was appointed to the House Appropriations Committee, serving as a subcommittee chairman or ranking member for 18 years. He was chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Hon. Fazio is currently Senior Advisor at Corporate Voices’ member company, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.
  • Former U.S. Congressman Jim Nussle represented the state of Iowa for 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before he served for President George W. Bush asImage the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. As the current president and chief operating officer of Growth Energy, a trade association made up of America ethanol companies and industry partners who are committed to the promise of growing America’s economy through renewable energy, Rep. Nussle focuses his efforts developing creative policy approaches and proactive grassroots advocacy.

The two will be moderated by Frank Micciche, Chief of Staff at Fix the Debt. Previously, Mr. Micciche worked at McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP where he specialized in developing and implementing public policy strategies for clients working to help states and the federal government innovate in the area of health care – with a particular focus on the establishment of health insurance exchanges.

The Annual Meeting, themed Corporate Leadership Beyond the Workplace, will be held March 20-22, 2013, in Washington, DC. Register online today! Hotel reservations can be made at The Madison Hotel by calling 1.800.424.8577. Mention Corporate Voices’ room block to receive your discounted rate. If you have further questions, please email jshare@corporatevoices.org

The day after: the time for political junkies, the everyday voter and the campaigns to debate which candidate “won,” who reached the undecided voters, and, of all things, Big Bird.    Lost in the sound bites and the spin is that the focus of last night’s debate was on the economy and  ways to get Americans back to work.  One solution that has support from both sides of the aisle are private and public partnerships that help American workers upgrade and expand their skills by balancing work and higher education.  As President Obama stated during the debate,

“ . . . And one of the things I suspect Governor Romney and I probably agree on is getting businesses to work with community colleges… here they’re partnering so that they’re designing training programs. And people who are going through them know that there’s a job waiting for them if they complete it.”

Small, medium and large businesses understand the need to make more strategic investments in their future and current human capital.  They are looking to higher education providers, including community colleges, to do just that: to build a skilled workforce with the credentials to meet the labor needs of their companies.  These companies, including Walmart, McDonald’s, Verizon and Pacific Gas & Electric, are committed to “growing their own” workforce and report strong outcomes not only for the business but the workers themselves and the surrounding communities.  To find out more about how these private and public partnerships are beneficial to getting Americans back to work, check out:  A Talent Development Solution: Exploring Business Drivers and Returns in Learn and Earn Partnerships.Image

At a time when national leaders are looking to America’s more than 1,200 community colleges to help fuel an economic transformation, a new report from our colleagues at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) spotlights both great opportunities and serious challenges ahead.

Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future details community college “student success rates that are unacceptably low, employment preparation that is inadequately connected to job-market needs, and disconnections in transitions between high schools, community colleges, and baccalaureate institutions.” Considering the national imperative to add 20 million postsecondary educated workers over the next 15 years, these are serious indictments for higher education institutions tasked with preparing a globally competitive workforce and ones to which employers look for the next generation of talent.

Corporate Voices for Working Families commends AACC and its 21st-Century Commission on the Future of Community Colleges for recommending a new vision for America’s community colleges.  Our corporate partners share the commitment to “Reclaiming the American Dream”. To be sure, U.S. employers have much at stake in the success of community colleges and the students they are educating for the workforce of tomorrow. Moreover, employers can—indeed, must—be a part of the solution, by helping to ensure that college coursework aligns with the knowledge and skills they require of their new employees, and by helping working students juggle the demands of school and their job.

As part of its “Learn and Earn” micro business case study series, Corporate Voices has documented a range of best practice talent development partnerships between businesses and education providers – frequently community colleges.  These Learn and Earn models help bridge the skills gap for employers, while encouraging and/or supporting current and future employees’ attainment of postsecondary credentials with labor market value – the most significant benchmark for achieving economic sustainability. Learn and Earn partnerships also provide real returns for these leading companies.

For example, AREVA, a global company that provides services, fuel, and engineering support to nuclear plants worldwide, partners withCentralVirginiaCommunity College on an Employee Training Program that produces graduates with an Associate Degree in Nuclear Support Technology.  These highly skilled, high-wage positions make a significant contribution to the centralVirginia regional economy, and supply a high-quality, entry-level talent pipeline to the employer in a fairly rural region.

In another Learn and Earn model, Bright Horizons Family Solutions LLC, the world’s leading provider of employer-sponsored child care, early education, and work/life solutions, created a blended e-training program to help teachers acquire a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. Through the company’s partnership withNorthamptonCommunity College inPennsylvania, Bright Horizons’ 18,000 employees around the country can enroll in the college’s online associate degree program, and have 9 academic credits honored from the CDA toward an associate degree. For Bright Horizons, the program is a win-win: Not only has it increased the quality of early child care services provided at its centers, but the credential is also viewed as a major contributing factor in reducing the company’s employee turnover rate by more than 50 percent.

Education-and-business partnerships like these create a model for ways in which community colleges can meet student success targets in connection with their regional labor markets.  Corporate Voices’ publication, Business and Community College Partnerships: A Blueprint, is a tool that helps guide the formation of these partnerships.  It is available at no charge on our website.

Corporate Voices agrees with AACC President and CEO, Walter Bumphus, who acknowledges that individual colleges have demonstrated success, but said, “We haven’t done a [great] job of replicating these practices across the country.”  Corporate Voices and its employer partners stand ready to join community colleges to replicate best practices like Learn and Earn, and support this initiative to “Reclaim the American Dream.”

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