Littler Workplace Policy Institute and National Association of State Chambers Release Report Addressing Skilled Labor Shortages Impacting U.S. Businesses

(August 31, 2022) – Littler’s Workplace Policy Institute® (WPI™), the government affairs arm of Littler, the world’s largest employment and labor law practice representing management, and the National Association of State Chambers (NASC), a national organization for executive leadership of state chambers, have released a new report – Workforce: A Throttle on American Growth – to address workforce challenges in the U.S.

The report arrives at a crucial moment, with nearly two job openings per available worker, a soaring employment cost index for U.S. businesses, and persistently high employee “quit rates” – not to mention widening skills gaps and dwindling population growth.

The report provides a comprehensive analysis of how state chambers are responding to these challenges through programming and advocacy work at the state level, as well as recommended federal-level policy reforms. It also details the key factors contributing to the national employment picture, including the quantity of American workers, the quality as measured by relevant skills, needed reforms to immigration policy, and the suitability of current education and training models.

“Today’s workforce challenges are varied and complex, and re-tooling each state’s workforce system and educational institutions to meet modern workplace needs is not a quick process,” said Lew Ebert, NASC’s Executive Director. “Despite the challenges, the 50-state scan in this report demonstrates that state chambers are committed not only to improving hiring conditions for their members in the short-term, but to patient planning and follow-through to create a better workforce system for years to come.”

In examining workforce and education programming and advocacy work in all 50 U.S. states, the report provides a set of best practices and strategies for enhancing workforce development programs at the state level, including:

  • Planning: A strong strategic plan – one that uses data to define the problem and outlines clear goals – has formed the basis of effective workforce policies and programming for many state chambers.
  • Organization and Staffing: Creating a new entity with a dedicated focus on workforce development and education has proven effective in making progress on these issues.
  • Funding: While there is no magic bullet to sourcing funds for workforce and education endeavors, establishing a 501(c)(3) and aggressively seeking grants and donations can enable expansion of these efforts.
  • Measuring: Tracking and reporting key economic and employment data is important for state organizations to help pinpoint opportunities, as well as gauge trends and progress toward policy and program goals.
  • Advocacy: State chambers across the country have achieved significant recent legislative successes, including securing education and training funds, increasing funding for public schools, and improving the availability and affordability of childcare and housing.
  • Programming: Workforce-related programs – from career awareness initiatives to internships, new talent pipelines and more – can help plug gaps in the existing system and connect businesses with workers and resources.

“In the face of multifaceted and widespread challenges, we were inspired by the impressive array of thoughtful, aggressive actions that state chambers are taking to address what is the top competitiveness issue of our time,” said Michael Lotito, co-chair of WPI. “It is clear that the U.S. business community, through its state-level chambers, is committed to doing the tough work needed to find solutions that will benefit employers and their workers, while boosting our country’s prospects for a more prosperous future.”

In addition to WPI and NASC, the research and analysis for the study was conducted by Ted Abernathy, Managing Partner of Economic Leadership LLC; and supported by the Emma Coalition, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded by Littler WPI in 2018 to address the technology-induced displacement of employment (TIDE™) through education, training and engagement with policymakers. Lotito serves as president of the coalition and has devoted significant attention to efforts to prepare American business and the American workforce for the future of work.

About NASC

The National Association of State Chambers exists to connect, and leverage state chambers of commerce so they can unite and mobilize the collective impact of employers in the promotion of free enterprise. NASC works to secure America’s future by uniting State Chambers for action on economic competitiveness.

About Littler

With more than 1,700 labor and employment attorneys in offices around the world, Littler provides workplace solutions that are local, everywhere. Our diverse global team and proprietary technology foster a culture that celebrates original thinking, delivering groundbreaking innovation that prepares employers for what’s happening today, and what’s likely to happen tomorrow.

About Littler WPI

WPI partners with the employer community to engage in legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts on issues that impact the workplace. We provide clients with unique insights into local, state and federal labor policy and legal developments and work to affect workplace policies throughout the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government. Harnessing deep experience, expansive resources and focused dedication, the WPI team ensures that policymakers in Washington DC and around the country hear the voice of employers.