President Obama Announces Launch of UpSkill America

2015 Winter Newsletter, Policy Updates

On January 21, President Obama made education, training, and career advancement for frontline workers a national priority with the launch of UpSkill America.  UpSkill America is a national employer-led movement to expand economic opportunity through workforce development.  As an industry partnership of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions – one of the five founding members of UpSkill America – NYACH is thrilled to be a part of this national effort.

UpSkill America reminds us of the magnitude of the challenge.  By 2020 businesses will need 123 million skilled workers; only 50 million workers have these needed skills today.  Strategic investments in worker education, training, and advancement are critical both to keep businesses competitive and to provide advancement opportunities for low-wage workers.  In the healthcare sector, healthcare reform is demanding improved patient outcomes, and a workforce with the skills to achieve these.

UpSkill America will recognize employers investing in their frontline workforce, promote employer best practices, and cultivate education and workforce development efforts.  These best practices include:

  • Increased investments in frontline workers for job progression and better pay
  • Expanded employee eligibility for higher education benefits
  • More widespread use of education and training benefits
  • Collaboration to ensure that training leads to marketable credentials generating higher pay
  • New and expanded apprenticeships
  • Scheduling flexibility or stability – and related supports – so workers can succeed at training and advancement.

Founding members of UpSkill America include:

  • Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnership
  • Committee for Economic Development of The Conference Board
  • The Aspen Institute Skills for America’s Future
  • The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning
  • The National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Next steps include a national gathering this spring of business leaders, business leadership organizations, and education and workforce development organizations, as well as the development of publications, best practice guides, and other resources for businesses.  More information can be found at and this White House fact sheet.

NYACH looks forward to continuing and expanding our work with our partners and the National Fund for Workforce Solutions in response to this newly energized national call to action.