BLU Members Discuss How to Help Long-Term Unemployed at the White House

BLU Members Discuss How to Help
Long-Term Unemployed at the White
BLU Members Discuss How to
Help Long-Term Unemployed
at the White House
BLU Leaders Attend State of
the Union
Vice President Biden Visits
BLU Member to Focus on
Sector Partnerships
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On Friday, President Obama invited 18 members of
Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships
(BLU) to the White House for an event with corporate
leaders and workforce partnership innovators to
discuss what can be done to help our nation's 4
million long-term unemployed. At the event, the
President announced $150 million in new support
from the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) for
“Ready to Work" partnerships to "prepare and place
the long-term unemployed into good jobs." The White
House also released a statement signed by several
BLU members endorsing “best practices” they use
when hiring in order to ensure all applicants, including
the unemployed, are treated fairly in the job
application process.
Prior to Friday’s White House event, the President
hosted a CEO roundtable to discuss how employers
can help the long-term unemployed get back to work.
Participants included two BLU leaders: Michael
Mandina of Optimax, Inc. and Michael Tamasi of
Accurounds, both smaller manufacturers. Also
participating was Larry Zimpleman, CEO of Prudential
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mind | Star Tribune, 01.28.2014
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Financial Group, a Fortune 500 company that
participates in a local sector partnership organized by
Central Iowa Works.
Following the event, Tamasi
was invited on Fox Business
News “After the Bell” where
he discussed how sector
partnerships can help close
the skills gap and re-train the
long-term unemployed and others with the skills
needed for good-paying jobs employers need to fill.
Click here to watch the clip.
Thank you to all BLU members who attended Friday’s
White House event:
Rebecca Aguilera-Gardiner, Vice President,
Sales/Marketing, Diego and Sons
Liza Alvarez, Human Resources Manager, Vi-Chem
Armando Chapelliquen, Director of Operations, Jos.
H. Lowenstein & Sons, Inc.
Scott Ellsworth, Vice President-US operations,
Tipco Punch, Inc
Kerry Gumm, Human Resources Manager, Principal
Financial Group
Paul Hoffman, President, New Haven Manufacturers
Rick Jordan, Vice President, LSI Industries, Inc.
Michael Kenig, Vice Chairman, Holder Construction
Mike Mandina, President, Optimax Systems, Inc.
Sandra Myler, Educator, Dignity Health
Jeanette Nigro, Vice President, Public Programs and
Development, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Lynn Pecora, Director-Training & Development,
Angel Pineiro, Senior Vice President, ASI System
Integration, Inc.
Alma Salazar, Vice President of Education and
Workforce Development, Los Angeles Area Chamber
of Commerce
Anette Smith-Dohring, Workforce Development
Manager, Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region
Liza Smitherman, Vice President Professional
Development, Jostin Construction
Susan Swanton, Executive Director, Maine Marine
Trades Association
Michael Tamasi, President and CEO, AccuRounds
BLU Leaders Attend State of the Union
President Obama announced his “Opportunity for All”
agenda during the State of the Union address which
includes sector partnerships as a strategy to help the
unemployed get back to work: “Train Americans with
the skills employers need, and match them to good
jobs that need to be filled right now.”
Two of BLU’s leaders got to hear the President in
person. Scott Ellsworth, Vice-President of Tipco
Punch in Hamilton, OH, and a member of Cincinnati’s
Partnership for a Competitive Workforce (an affiliate
of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions) was the
guest of Speaker John Boehner (R-OH); and Erick
Ajax, Vice President of E.J. Ajax and Sons in
Minneapolis was the guest of Senator Al Franken (DMN).
Both of these business leaders have spent the past
year educating members of Congress about the
sector partnerships they help lead, and about the
merits of such proposals as the SECTORS Act and
the Community College to Career Act. Both proposals
call for a new role for sector partnerships in targeting
federal training investments, in line with the call
President Obama made in the House chamber last
Vice President Biden Visits BLU
Member to Focus on Sector
Following the State of the
Union, Vice President Joe
Biden traveled to
Rochester, NY, for an event
about job-driven training at
Monroe Community College. This visit was the Vice
President’s first act after being charged by the
President to oversee a cross-agency review of federal
workforce programs to ensure they align with local
employer needs.
Mike Mandina, President of Optimax and founding
member of BLU, introduced the Vice President. Mike
is one of the employer-leaders of the Finger Lakes
Advanced Manufacturing Enterprise (FAME), a sector
partnership that has been working with the local
workforce investment board, three community
colleges, and several area high schools to prepare
local residents for high-paying but unfilled jobs in
photonics and other local manufacturing.
The Vice President noted that FAME is the type of
partnership model he wants to look at as part of his
cross-agency reform effort.
Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships
c/o National Skills Coalition
1730 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Suite 712
Washington, DC 20036 | 202-223-8991
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