As someone who worked in and with Congress for nearly two decades, I am a strong believer in the power of our legislative branch to advance meaningful and impactful policy solutions. I have witnessed Congress work well and am very confident in the institution going forward regardless of who is or is not in power. I share this confidence with our founding fathers, who placed Congress first in the Constitution (Article I, Section I) before the other two branches of government and provided it with additional powers.
That being said, Congress (or any level of government) is a deliberative body with many competing priorities and sometimes we miss sight of the importance of solution providers outside the halls of Congress to address a long standing issue.
Workforce policy is a good example. Over the last 10 years, 540 bills (187 this Congress alone) have been introduced that address – in some capacity – STEM education. Many of these provide strong solutions and, hopefully, will advance to the President’s desk one day. But the challenges we face in the workforce today and the challenges on the horizon for the workforce of the future are simply too big to wait for the legislative process to work.
Those who find themselves on the outside looking in when it comes to a career in technology – whether they are a high school senior or a recently laid off veteran -- waiting for policy solutions to provide the guidance, training, or career pathway isn’t a realistic option.
Enter the Center for Technology Workforce Solutions (CTWS), which is a non-traditional “think tank” that will focus on connecting those on the “outside” to the meaningful tools, training and careers they need now. Part convener, part researcher, and part builder of a network of solution providers, CTWS shares the passion of those drafting workforce legislation, but lacks the scheduling constraints to deliver the solutions.
As the technology industry evolves and those of us who watch it closely consider solutions to better serve and strengthen the workforce, there is a long list of items that need to be considered – unfilled jobs, the need for more training, adaption to emerging technologies, establishing meaningful career paths, reaching underserved communities, elevating non four-year colleges, and the list can go on and on. Of course, Congress should be a solution provider to some of these challenges, but so should employers, and educators, and CTWS. We all have a role in this and a responsibility to be innovative and thoughtful in our approach, but we shouldn’t (and CTWS isn’t going to) wait for policy to make the first move.
So, while I am walking the halls of Congress advocating for meaningful policy solutions, it will be comforting to know that CTWS will be driving change in our technology workforce and opening doors to many who may not currently have the skills or the access to reach open jobs…and CTWS will do so without having to wait a decade to pass legislation.
Interested in learning more about CTWS, contact us!
Charles Cooper is the Executive Vice President of the Signal Group.