Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) Governors’ Council commends both the president and Republican leaders of the House of Representatives for making reform of our federal workforce system a priority for 2014. The Council’s agenda for 2014 includes tackling reform of federal workforce programs and making sure our youth are prepared for post-secondary work and education.
BPC’s Governors Council will release a framework for reform of the 47 federal workforce programs on which the federal government currently spends $18 billion. Despite this investment, there are 3.9 million long-term unemployed Americans and widespread reports by companies that they cannot find skilled workers to fill millions of openings. Clearly, the federal system of overlapping programs is not meeting the needs of either the worker or the employer. BPC’s Governors’ Council believes now is the time to reform the current training and employment system. The governors look forward to working with the administration and Congress on developing a system that will help America’s workers find sustainable, long-term employment.
BPC’s Governors’ Council includes seven former Republican and Democratic governors: Phil Bredesen of Tennessee; Jim Douglas of Vermont; Brad Henry of Oklahoma; Linda Lingle of Hawaii; Sonny Perdue of Georgia; Mike Rounds of South Dakota; and Ted Strickland of Ohio.
“Our goal is to bring the experienced and pragmatic perspective of bipartisan leaders to the federal discourse,” said Governor Bredesen. “The solutions we used to fix many of the challenges we faced at the state and local level can be replicated in Washington.”
A critical part of any effort to reform our workforce system is an examination of what types of education and training students receive in high school, before they enter college or the workforce. Too many of our high school students arrive in college needing remedial help in core subjects and are ill-prepared to compete in the job market.
It was with this concern in mind that Governors and Chief State School Officers created the Common Core standards. These standards are state-driven and state-implemented and will hold all students to the same academic rigor while forestalling the need for federal intervention in an area traditionally left to the states. The governors will devote this year to clarifying much of the misinformation including claims that Common Core is a federal initiative and that it dictates exactly what will be taught in each individual classroom. The effort will begin with an event with current Delaware Governor Jack Markell and the Chamber of Commerce Foundation next month.
“As former governors who helped shaped Common Core, BPC’s Governors’ Council continues to believe the state-based standards are the best hope our country has for competing in a global economy,” said Governor Perdue. Our students need consistent and high educational standards. Importantly, these standards leave curriculum decisions in the hands of local education agencies - right where they belong.”