Jobs Cabinet Report
Source: State of Colorado
By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
The governor’s so-called “jobs cabinet” has recommended that the state become more active in directing businesses in the areas of workforce development and job-creation.
Business leaders endorsed the plan, despite calls for greater government involvement, including engaging employers in workforce assessments and measuring their progress.
“We … encourage increased partnership across state agencies and across public and private sectors,” wrote the co-chairs of the Jobs Cabinet in a letter to Gov. Bill Ritter. “With enhanced collaboration, together with an effort to provide greater amounts of information about programs and resources, we believe that Colorado businesses will become increasingly effective and successful, thereby raising the economic conditions of our communities and workers.”
The cabinet was chaired by Teresa Taylor, a Qwest Communications executive, Ruth Ann Woods, former president of Trinidad State Junior College, and by attorney Jim Lyons.
After a year of research and 19 meetings, the Jobs Cabinet released five recommendations to the state for improving workforce quality and creating jobs:
• Implement local forums to align education, economic development, workforce training and business recruitment efforts;
• Implement workforce-training assessments;
• Promote talent development programs;
• Develop a Web site to provide businesses with access to jobs-related resources; and
• Send an executive from the governor’s office to provide leadership to implement the recommendations and measure progress.
“These are tough times,” said Ritter. “The Jobs Cabinet has laid out a road map that will help us create a highly skilled and educated workforce and improve the competitiveness of Colorado business. This will be a key part of our job-creation strategy as we lead Colorado forward.”
Backing by business groups
Business groups that have in the past objected to increased government involvement and control, spoke favorably of the recommendations.
“Our organization recognizes the important work the Colorado’s Jobs Cabinet has accomplished in the areas of economic development and education to promote a highly skilled and educated workforce,” said Walter Isenberg, chairman of Colorado Concern, an exclusive group of Colorado business executives. “These efforts directly impact our state’s competitiveness, which is critical in this global environment.”
In its recommendations, the cabinet stated that the time has come for businesses to step up their workforce training and job-creation efforts.
“Businesses cannot sit idly by and hope that increased cooperation and collaboration by government partners will cure all workforce training issues,” wrote the co-chairs. “We re-imagine a Colorado public-private partnership that increases business involvement in identifying and driving the workforce changes we need to ensure our continued prosperity.”
Ritter added, however, that government will play a big role in the process.
“Government alone cannot fix this economy or create more private-sector jobs. But we can do our part,” said the governor. “We can create a better business-friendly environment; we can strengthen relationships and break down silos; and we can do a better job asking businesses, ‘What can we do for you?’ rather than sticking to business as usual.”
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters