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Douglas County EDA Participates in National Skills Coalition DC Fly-in to Advocate for Increasing Investments in Skills Training

Author: National Skills Coalition

November 26, 2019

Douglas County EDA urged lawmakers to align workforce development policies with the needs of industry.

WASHINGTON, DC (November 26, 2019) – Breezy Straton, Director of Existing Industry and Workforce for the Douglas County Economic Development Authority joined more than 75 business leaders from 25 states in Washington D.C. last week to speak with members of Congress and their staff – urging them to invest in skills training to expand economic opportunities for working families, help meet the workforce needs of local business and industry, and make our country more competitive in a 21st century global economy.

Some of the policy solutions advocated for include:

• Reauthorizing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) – with a focus on supporting industry partnerships and providing greater access to industry-recognized, postsecondary credentials – to help businesses develop talent pipelines of skilled workers to meet future demand and promote industry growth and competitiveness.
• Modernizing the higher education system by making Pell grants available for high-quality, short-term training programs that lead to in-demand jobs while also investing in support services – like childcare, career counseling, transportation assistance – to help workers succeed in those programs.
• Expanding work-based learning opportunities by investing in industry partnerships to support businesses who don’t have the resources to develop work-based learning programs.

“These are the kinds of common sense, bipartisan solutions that we need to see from Washington,” said Breezy Straton.

Nearly two- thirds of small and mid-sized business leaders across the country say it’s difficult to find and hire skilled workers, according to a recent poll by Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships (BLU). And 79 percent of business leaders support new, public investments in skills training.

“We can’t compete in a 21st century global economy without a robust workforce development policy agenda that is in alignment with the needs of industry,” said Breezy Straton, Director of Existing Industry and Workforce for the Douglas County Economic Development Authority “Increasing public investment in skills training is good for workers, businesses, and our economy.”

In addition to participating in the National Skills Coalition/Business Leaders United DC Fly-in, Breezy Straton was also invited to serve as the sole economic developer for a meeting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to discuss the role of the philanthropic community in workforce and economic development strategies.