Vice President Biden and Secretary of Labor Perez Headline Third Way Forum on The Future of the American Workforce

June 04, 2014

Third Way hosted a policy forum today featuring a detailed presentation by Vice President Joe Biden and a moderated panel by U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez on the future of the American workforce. The event, part of the Vice President’s project that will culminate with a workforce modernization and training report to the President, was held at the Ronald Reagan Federal Building in Washington, D.C.

“The Vice President is perhaps the most passionate and committed champion of the middle class of anyone in public life,” said Jon Cowan, President of Third Way. “He has traveled the country talking to workers, companies, and experts with one burning question: ‘how can we ensure every American has the skills to thrive in the new economy?’ We were honored to hear some of his insights today.”

The half-day forum featured leaders from business, trade associations, public workforce systems, community colleges, and job-training organizations that are using innovative approaches to match their local workforce to high-quality jobs. Secretary Perez joined Third Way and Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Byron Auguste for a roundtable with those leaders following remarks from the Vice President. Third Way will subsequently prepare a white paper to the Vice President and the Secretary on the findings of the group. A list of the panel participants is appended below.

Cowan continued: “I’m delighted that we have been able to bring together such an extraordinary group of people who are finding new ways of matching job seekers to employers in this new economy. We look forward to discovering their keys to success and to working with the Vice President and the Secretary to help others emulate them and the federal government to further support them.

“The central economic challenge of the 21st century is that a middle class job no longer supports a middle class life. If we are to turn that around, we must find ways to ensure that our workers have the skills and training they need to succeed in the jobs of the new economy."

Third Way will release its white paper publicly sometime this summer.

Panelist Participants:

  • Ashwin Bharath Pushpanayagam, COO, Multivision, Inc.
  • Barbara Veazey, President and CEO, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Debra Shephard, President, Lake Area Technical Institute
  • Doris Gonzalez, Director, Corporate Citizenship and Corporate Affairs in the Americas, IBM Corporation
  • Earl Buford, President and CEO, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP
  • Edward Gordon, Founder and Owner, Imperial Consulting Corporation
  • Karen Sitnick, Director, Workforce Investment Board of Baltimore City
  • Maureen Conway, Executive Director, Aspen Institute Workforce Strategies Initiative, The Aspen Institute
  • Michael Callanan, Executive Director, National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry (NJATC)
  • Patrick Cushing, CEO and Co-Founder, WorkHands
  • Rufus Glasper, Chancellor, Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Shaila Ittycheria, Co-Founder, Enstitute
  • Steve VanAusdle, President, Walla Walla Community College
  • William Hite, General President, The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada

Press Contacts

Ladan Ahmadi

Senior Media Relations Manager



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