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2022 Skills Summit

Day 1 | Tuesday, February 15, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM EST

Fireside Chat and Panel Plenary:

Will We Build Back Better Towards an Inclusive Recovery?

In 2021, President Biden proposed generation-defining investments in our nation’s physical and human infrastructures to build back the U.S. economy from the devastation of the pandemic. Through proposals like a $100 billion investment in workforce training and industry partnership development, and a $109 billion plan to extend tuition-free community college to both students and workers, the Biden administration hoped to make things better and more equitable for America’s workers and businesses.


The Build Back Better package being debated by Congress is smaller than the President’s original proposal, but the most recent version of the bill included sizeable investments in workforce development and community college partnerships that could redefine our nation’s workforce and higher education systems. If adopted, they would add to already enacted workforce investments in the previously passed American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. What are the administration’s plans to ensure those investments are both effective and equitable for America’s workers and businesses? Are states committed to those same goals? And what are stakeholders hoping to see from federal and state policymakers as these programs are implemented?

Ambassador Susan E. Rice, Domestic Policy Advisor in the Biden Administration 

Response Panel: 
Alex Camardelle, Director of Workforce Policy, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Derrick Figures, Labor and Economic Justice Director, Sierra Club
Jee Hang Lee, President and CEO, Association of Community College Trustees
Jennie Sparandara, Head of Programs, JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Moderated by Andy Van Kleunen, Chief Executive Officer, National Skills Coalition

This is the fourth in NSC’s Fireside Chat series, featuring conversations between NSC’s CEO Andy Van Kleunen and national leaders who are shaping how America invests in skills training to help workers and businesses thrive in an inclusive economic recovery. The pre-recorded “chat” and the live plenary will be webcast on February 15th and recorded for future viewing via NSC’s Fireside Chat website.

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM EST

Closing the Digital Skill Divide: Digital Equity at Work

The pandemic accelerated 10 years of planned technological change in workplaces in less than a year. Without a national strategy to help workers build digital skills throughout their careers, these shifts threaten to deepen racial inequality and slow economic recovery. The pandemic has demonstrated the urgency of putting high-quality, connected technology in more hands. But it also made clear that closing the digital divide requires public policies that empower all workers to adapt to and harness technology's constant evolution. Hear from three thought leaders who are working to close the digital divide, including the digital skill divide, in communities and industries across the nation.


Opening remarks by Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Donald R. Cravins, Jr., Esq., Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, National Urban League
Portia Wu,Managing Director of U.S. Public Policy, Microsoft 
Dr. Sekou Siby, President and CEO, ROC United
Moderated by Rachel Unruh, Chief of External Affairs, National Skills Coalition


Day 2 | Wednesday, February 16, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:00PM EST

Skills Training & Job Quality: Industry Perspectives

Jobs that require skills training are the backbone of our economy. Yet not all jobs are quality jobs, with differences in pay, benefits, working conditions, and career advancement opportunities across industries and even among jobs within the same industry. As we invest in an economic recovery, we should seize the opportunity to make jobs better than they were before the pandemic so that every worker can thrive. 

How can skills training strategies promote quality jobs and equity? Join this session to hear leaders in different industries discuss how workforce development can expand access to quality jobs, disrupt occupational segregation, elevate workers’ voices, and contribute to industry and policy changes.

Daniel Bustillo, Executive Director, Healthcare Career Advancement Program
Alejandro Mendoza, Director, Human Resources, Optimax
Luis Sandoval, Executive Director, Building Skills Partnership
Dr. Beverly A. Scott, Founder, Introducing Youth to American Infrastructure, Inc Moderated by Brooke DeRenzis, Chief Strategy Officer, National Skills Coalition

Closing remarks by Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM EST

Panel Discussion with Cabinet Secretaries: Issues Facing our Workforce Today

The National Skills Coalition’s CEO Andy Van Kleunen will be moderating a discussion on the issues currently affecting America’s workforce with Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, and Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. 

Secretary Miguel Cardona, U.S. Department of Education

Secretary Gina Raimondo, U.S. Department of Commerce

Secretary Marty Walsh, U.S. Department of Labor

Moderated by Andy Van Kleunen, Chief Executive Officer, National Skills Coalition

Day 3 | Thursday, February 17, 2022

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM EST

Skills for an Inclusive Economic Recovery: 2022 Federal Policy Agenda

The Summit will highlight how historic federal investments in America’s workforce could shape an inclusive economic recovery for people and businesses most impacted by the recession and structural inequities. During this session, National Skills Coalition staff will dive deeper into the state of play on federal skills training policy and discuss innovative state workforce efforts that provide examples for federal policymakers. Panelists will also reflect on what the imperative for investments in skills training to contribute to racial equity in the workforce, help close the digital divide, and connect workers to quality jobs means for federal policy advocacy in 2022.


Opening remarks by Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA 3) and Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC 5) 

Melissa Johnson, Managing Director, State Strategies, National Skills Coalition Jeannine LaPrad, Managing Director, Policy and Research, National Skills Coalition Moderated by Katie Spiker, Managing Director, Government Affairs, National Skills Coalition

3:30 PM - 5:00 PM EST

Strategies for Meetings with Policymakers

This session will give you all the details that you will need to prepare you for meetings with Congressional offices in a virtual format. From logistics to talking points, we’ve got you covered. NSC staff will provide updates on key skills related legislative successes and ongoing legislative activity. You will also receive a rundown of the dos and don’ts of virtual lobbying and hear from network partners on how proposed federal investments will help build an inclusive, high-quality workforce system.  For participants planning to participate in meetings with Congressional offices, this session is required.

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