Even a Broken Clock is Right Twice Day
“Everything should NOT be taken out of context and morphed into a political weapon. Enough already!” via @JohnnyCTaylorJr
SHRM CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. is right to call for sanity via Twitter in response to SHRM members’ social media condemnation of his highly visible support for the White House’s new workforce development initiative.
As a long-time SHRM member, active in local chapters and its workforce development programs across three states, I applaud businesses and organizations supporting The Pledge to American Workers that promises to train and retrain employees. President Trump’s recent executive order creates a National Council for the American Worker. The council, comprised of senior administration officials, is supposed to come up with a strategy for training and retraining the workers needed across high-demand industries.
Why do employers have to be prodded by the government to do the right thing with internal career pathing, support of their employees continued education, and foster more mentorships and apprenticeships in the workplace? SHRM and U.S. employers and various government agencies have talked about workforce development for decades, and it just wasn’t enough. The United States fell way behind in growing a smarter, better educated and more qualified workforce to fill the jobs of tomorrow – hence the growing, self-inflicted skills gap we face today, particularly in healthcare, skilled trades, and technical fields. The wave of retiring baby boomers is exacerbating the problem.
The fact that SHRM members take offense with the President’s character, and disdain the current Administration’s position on Affirmative Action, diversity and inclusion, sexual harassment, and other work-related issues – however valid these concerns – are entirely beside the point. The organization would be warmly embracing any similar workforce development initiative if it were floated by a less controversial White House, like the Democrats and labor unions who lauded candidate Hillary Clinton’s suggestion that coal miners be retrained in clean energy technology.
SHRM members would be wise to set aside divisive political rancor to unite on the bigger picture of this important initiative and its desirable, vital potential outcomes. Indeed, why not wait and see what strategies the new National Council has to offer before rejecting it? The world’s biggest human resources organization should consider stepping up its support for employers rising to the challenge and lead the way in making the most of this opportunity.