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CAEL Pathways Blog

Strength in Numbers: How CAEL Can Help You Tackle the Talent Pipeline Challenge

This summer, the White House announced the Talent Pipeline Challenge, which calls for collaboration among the key players that shape education and career pathways: employers, education and training providers, government entities, and philanthropic organizations. The purpose of the challenge is to "support equitable workforce development in three critical infrastructure sectors: broadband, construction, and 'electrification' (EV charging infrastructure and battery manufacturing)." 

Sound familiar? It should. Linking learning and work to foster equitable economic mobility is at the core of CAEL's mission. And meeting adult learners where they are means being present at the intersection of education and employment. CAEL serves as our partners' unwavering intermediary within this ever-shifting intersection, with expertise and long experience in convening and managing education, industry, and organizations that provide support to adults as they learn and work. 

The Talent Pipeline Challenge asks employers to work with local training providers to source qualified workers, emphasizing registered apprenticeship programs and inclusive community colleges. It notes that "Employers can partner with national or regional intermediaries or training providers to build, scale, or support local training models to recruit, train, or hire workers in their sector." Among the challenge's priorities are: 

  • Employers and training providers including "community-based organizations working with women and under-represented groups in the training partnership."
  • Investment in "the resources and supports like tuition assistance, child care, transportation costs, and emergency aid" that can help workers overcome common barriers to training participation.
  • Regional convenings.
  • Education and training providers "identifying, recruiting, and supporting local women and workers of color so they will be employed in infrastructure jobs, including workers from communities with persistent poverty, and rural and Tribal communities."
  • The use of applicable federal, state, and local funding to advance workforce development.

Below are just some of the ways CAEL can help your organization succeed in these areas and answer the call of the Talent Pipeline Challenge:

CAEL membership offers a dynamic community of practice with year-round virtual and in-person engagement. The community collaborates around established and emerging best practices for building and sustaining education-to-career pathways and equitable economic mobility for adults. Learn more at cael.org.

CAEL has partnered with SEMI, the industry association representing the global electronics manufacturing and design supply chain, to create the SEMI Career Exploration Platform. The SEMI Career Exploration Platform is designed to strengthen access for underrepresented workers to educational and employment opportunities in the U.S. semiconductor industry and to grow its talent pipeline. It links the knowledge and skills of workers with career and educational pathways ranging from internships and apprenticeships to certificate and advanced degree programs. For more information, visit www.careers.semi.org

CAEL is also partnering with the U.S. Department of Education on career navigation. Connected Pathways, a national career-exploration system, is a digital platform designed to boost the economic mobility of underserved learners by empowering them to make informed choices as they navigate complex educational and career options. To that end, Connected Pathways is interfacing with students, their families, counselors, teachers, volunteers, social workers, community organizations, and employers. 

The Truist Foundation and CAEL are building a multicity initiative to support career pathways that connect underserved workers and communities to professions in financial services and related industries. As the intermediary for the initiative, CAEL is:

  • Establishing partnerships with local community colleges and postsecondary institutions to ensure all adult learners have access to affordable remote and in-person classes with flexible hours and curricula, prioritizing effectiveness for women and BIPOC adult learners. 
  • Forging partnerships with local workforce development boards.
  • Exploring potential partnerships with service providers such as local child care centers, transportation services, mental health organizations, and other sources of support to ensure services are available and accessible, allowing adult learners to face fewer barriers when entering the financial services workforce. 
  • Providing training and tools to organizations in the financial services industry to encourage them to hire talented and diverse adult learners and support them as candidates and employees, setting them up for success.
  • Establishing systems to track individual outcomes and improvements in systems.
  • Managing learning and continuous improvement.

CAEL manages the National Alliance for Communications, Technology, Education and Learning (NACTEL), a 23-year-old industry alliance. Built on collaboration among employers and unions, NACTEL creates and sponsors equitable online education programs that meet the needs of current and future telecommunications professionals and address critical employment needs. For more information, visit nactel.org .

The Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) is another CAEL-managed industry alliance. A national membership coalition, EPCE includes more than 3,500 private, public, and government-owned utilities; energy contractors and suppliers; professional associations; local unions; workforce investment boards; and education and training providers. EPCE creates, sponsors, and offers easily accessible online education and training pathways for the energy workforce. 

For more information, visit www.epceonline.org.

CAEL also recently opened a regional office in Pittsburgh to support its growing work there to develop partnerships that expand inclusive work-based learning within industry-recognized degree and non-degree credential programs. Our collaboration among education and training providers there prioritizes the financial services, construction, information technology, energy, telecommunications, health professions technology, and healthcare industries.

CAEL applauds the collaborative spirit of the Talent Pipeline Challenge. We are excited about the Challenge's potential to increase workforce diversity in sectors vital to our nation's economy and amplify historic infrastructure investments in creating good jobs for all Americans. We encourage and support employer and education/training providers to join this 'strength in numbers' approach to equitable economic mobility. Email us at marketing@cael.org to find out how CAEL helps our partners find their niche and flourish within education-employment ecosystems, including details on the initiatives outlined above. 

To receive the latest updates on these and the many other efforts underway in the CAEL community to forge and sustain viable links between learning and work, subscribe to our news notifications at cael.org

Click here for more information about the White House Talent Pipeline Challenge launch event and pledge.

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