Workforce and Industry Partnerships in the State of the Union

Andra Rush, CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems, meets with Secretary Perez before the State of the Union

In Tuesday’s State of the Union address, President Obama highlighted the valuable role played by the public workforce system in partnering with employers to get Americans into good jobs. Sitting with the First Lady on Tuesday night was Andra Rush, CEO of Detroit Manufacturing Systems. Her story — working with her local American Job Center to find qualified workers for her growing auto parts manufacturing firm — has been well documented.

But the fact is, her story is just one of thousands happening across America thanks to the more than 2,532 federally funded American Job Centers, the talented staff on the front lines of the workforce system, and the many non-profit and community organizations that are helping to connect the dots.

These workforce and industry partnerships are a cornerstone of the President’s jobs and skills agenda, and Secretary Perez has made them one of his top priorities at the Department. We are working closely with our colleagues at the Departments of Commerce, Education, and other federal agencies to make sure our various programs and funding streams are aligned so that workers can efficiently navigate career pathways and companies can hire and train a skilled workforce. We look forward to building on this work with Vice President Biden, who has been asked by President Obama to oversee his multi-agency skills agenda.

The president also asked us to build on our ongoing work with business, labor, and community college leaders, Governors, Mayors and Congressional officials to find new ways to tackle some of the challenges associated with preparing and matching workers to good jobs. Andra and DMS are a great example of how the system can work for everyone. Last year, I saw firsthand how her company is creating living wage jobs in an industry that is a key engine of America’s economy. The workforce system is here to make sure that engine runs smoothly and creates opportunity for millions of worker nationwide.

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