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Innovation Projects Aim to Close Skills Gap by Improving Learning, Training and Hiring

National Network Announces 12 Initiatives Will Receive Support

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Network of Business and Industry Associations (National Network), an effort led by Business Roundtable and ACT Foundation, is pleased to announce it will invest in 12 projects aimed at advancing talent development efforts across the nation in key economic sectors. Lumina Foundation and the Joyce Foundation have provided funding support for the initiative.

National Network members will use these investments to better connect learning and work. The innovation projects will further the National Network’s work to give students and workers clear pathways to meaningful careers and give employers a skilled, competitive workforce. Each project focuses on addressing the critical workforce needs of its sector, and a specific aspect of the National Network’s three-point plan. This plan includes: identifying competencies and promoting credentials that lead to work; creating more work-and-learn opportunities across the economy; and encouraging more employers to use competency-based hiring practices. For more information on the 12 projects and the organizations receiving funding, please click here.

“Business leaders need skilled workers to fill jobs at their companies and make them competitive around the world,” said John Engler, president of Business Roundtable. “This effort will help find new ways to train more people to fill the open jobs and ensure workers have the skills and training they need to be successful.”

“ACT Foundation applauds the business-led solutions the National Network has already created which provide the foundation for connecting learning and work, including a profile of Common Employability Skills and a replicable Competency-Based Apprenticeship model,” said Parminder Jassal, Founding Executive Director of ACT Foundation. “These 12 new projects made possible by Lumina and Joyce Foundations will continue to help align the needs and practices of business with the learning, skills development, and opportunities individuals require for success.”

About National Network

The National Network of Business and Industry Associations (National Network) represents major business sectors and is funded through a collaborative partnership of Business Roundtable, ACT Foundation, the Joyce Foundation and Lumina Foundation. Members include leaders in the manufacturing, retail, healthcare, energy, construction, hospitality, transportation, professional and business, and information technology sectors. They represent the source of nearly 75 percent of projected U.S. job growth through 2020 (an estimated 30 million new jobs). More information on the National Network can be found here.

Click here to view National Network members.

About Business Roundtable

Business Roundtable is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. companies working to promote sound public policy and a thriving U.S. economy. Established in 1972, Business Roundtable applies the expertise and experience of its CEO members to the major issues facing the nation. Through research and advocacy, Business Roundtable promotes policies to improve U.S. competitiveness, strengthen the economy and spur job creation.

About ACT Foundation

ACT Foundation reaches across organizational boundaries, sectors, and the nation, to fund and develop strategic approaches to support working learners in their individual journey toward successful careers and lives. Based in Austin, Texas, ACT Foundation is a private, independent organization, endowed by ACT Inc., a nonprofit public trust committed to helping people achieve educational and workplace success. The Foundation connects fifty years of data and insights to catalyze and build a National Learning Economy that will nurture the success of working learners while fueling a stronger economy.

About Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system, while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, log on to:

About The Joyce Foundation

The Chicago-based Joyce Foundation invests in solutions to pressing economic and social challenges that influence the quality of our lives, the vitality of our communities and the fairness of our society. Joyce focuses on the Great Lakes region, and also has national reach and impact. Joyce programs seek quality education for all children, greater economic opportunity for disadvantaged workers and a fully representative democracy serving the public interest. It supports strategies to reduce gun violence, clean up and restore our natural environment and enrich communities with vibrant, diverse arts and culture. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter, @joycefdn.