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BLU attends White House Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge Event

Business Leaders United and National Skills Coalition staff and members joined the president in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday to recognize and celebrate the commitments made by more than 350 organizations since the Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge launched in June. The nationwide call to action inspired employers, unions, education and training providers, states, local governments, Tribes, territories, philanthropic organizations, and other stakeholders to make tangible commitments that support equitable workforce development focused on three critical sectors: broadband, construction, and electrification – including the supply chains that support these sectors.

President Biden highlighted the importance of the partnerships between community colleges, training providers, businesses, labor, workforce boards, and other stakeholders during an address that marked the culmination of his administration’s Infrastructure Talent Pipeline Challenge – the White House’s call for critical partnerships to build a more inclusive infrastructure workforce. The proposals he advocated for are all in line with the recommendations from Business Leaders United and National Skills Coalition's Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel.




Photo: President Biden giving Remarks at the Talent Pipeline Challenge event.


A sample of commitments include:

  • Increasing recruitment of workers traditionally underrepresented in infrastructure sector
  • Expanding apprenticeships, pre-apprenticeships, and other kinds of high-quality training
  • Providing supportive services like childcare and transportation assistance
  • Advancing equitable workforce development for infrastructure jobs
  • Philanthropic commitments

It was thanks to our collaborative work and network partners that BLU and NSC were asked to be part of this effort. NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen was at the kickoff event for the Talent Pipeline Challenge in June and since that time, NSC and BLU recruited nearly 150 businesses and organizations to commit to the Talent Pipeline Challenge, several of whom were in attendance at Wednesday’s event including:

Traci Tapani, Co-President of Wyoming Machine Inc and Business Leaders United executive committee member attended today’s event, saying “Improvements in infrastructure will require access to skills training, not just on the construction site, but also among small and medium-sized manufacturers who are supplying the equipment and parts to get the job done. It’s heartening to see the administration acknowledging the real need in the Talent Pipeline Challenge and its support of other workforce initiatives.”

James E. Rooney, President & CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and BLU member was also in attendance. “Transformative and accessible skills training is a key to unlocking and sustaining a thriving business community. Greater Boston welcomes the Biden-Harris Administration’s focus on innovative sector partnerships that provide solutions to today’s workforce challenges. These partnerships, like apprenticeships, are invaluable tools that develop the talent pipeline, bringing together industry-driven training that helps workers acquire the skills that employers need,” he said.

In 2021, National Skills Coalition (NSC) and Business Leaders United (BLU) convened an Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel of leading experts working in local communities to advise the Biden Administration and Congress on what an effective, equitable, people-centered infrastructure plan should include. Panelists represent business, labor, education and training organizations, and others working in construction, utilities, transportation, and clean energy fields.

Photo: Apprentice Tiffany Hodge demonstrates a virtual welding machine and new technology that shows the sturdiness of welded seams.

“Federal investments in infrastructure must be met with skills training programs to prepare workers for the projects that will rebuild our roads, bridges, and water systems,” said Infrastructure Industry Recovery Panel Member Victoria Johnson, Global Equity Director, HDR, Inc. The Talent Pipeline Challenge is the kind of effort we wanted, and I am glad the administration heard us.”