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What They're Saying: Businesses are Ready to Join the President to UpSkill America

In his State of the Union address, the President called on more employers to adopt or expand measures to help workers gain the skills and credentials to advance into better paying jobs. Businesses and organizations are on board to Upskill America.

In his State of the Union address and again at Boise State days later, the President called on more employers to adopt or expand measures to help workers gain the skills and credentials to advance into better paying jobs – including by expanding registered apprenticeships, increasing uptake of tuition benefit programs that pay for a worker to complete their college education, offering on-the-job training for career progression, and increasing access to technology-enabled learning tools.

Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships -- opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education.

– President Obama, State of the Union Address, January 20, 2015

This initiative to Upskill America includes important steps by employeers, educators, and others in the private sector. That's why more than 30 employers are already answering the President's call to grow apprenticeships, support thousands of workers to earn a college degree for free while they are working, and providing a clear path upward for employeers who develope and demonstrate critical skills in the field. It's also why President Obama is calling on Congress to invest over $2 billion to expand registered apprenticeships and spread high-quality training programs. 

Spreading best practices like these can ensure employers get the skilled workforce that they need, while workers get an opportunity to realize their full potential and earn more. It's no wonder councils and business groups are allready talking about this new initiative. Here's what they're saying: 

Pacific Gas and Electric Company 

PG&E is setting a new goal of filling 75 percent of management vacancies from within PG&E by 2019, providing opportunities for upward mobility and growth for team members. These programs are targeted to individuals considering supervision, crew leaders, newly hired or promoted leaders, supervisors, and others, up to PG&E’s officer level.


In today’s global economy, we recognize the importance of teaching job and life skills to help hard-working people get and succeed in a job….With this new integrated management program, we’ll be able to turbo-charge our talent pipeline and create immediate opportunities for hundreds of motivated emerging leaders to build and further their careers with us.

-Eric Severson, Senior Vice President of Global Talent Solutions for Gap Inc.

CVS Health

Apprenticeships are a powerful tool for both the apprentice and for CVS Health. Participants receive hands-on experience, industry-recognized credentials and, in some cases, college credit, while CVS Health is able to develop a pipeline of talented and skilled employees.

- David Casey, Vice President of Workforce Strategies and Chief Diversity Officer

Aspen Institute 

We recognize the critical need to help frontline employees — from food service workers to daycare providers, from health care workers to construction laborers — obtain new skills. That’s why we created UpSkill America, an employer-led movement to expand economic opportunity for American workers.  We need more American business leaders to invest in effectively upskilling their workers. Leading the way to the middle class for more hardworking Americans is good for business and good for America.

National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Committee for Economic Development

As a member of UpSkill America, the Committee for Economic Development looks forward to sharing and supporting the most effective company policies that help employees advance and stay competitive. Together with our fellow business leaders, we’ll strengthen the economy and American Dream for our nation’s workers.

-Michael Petro, Executive Vice President of the Committee for Economic Developmen

Council for Adult and Experimental Learning

PA Workforce Development Association 

College for America 

Over and over again nationwide we’ve seen employers who need to build talent and promotable skills in order to grow their business, and who find that bringing competency-based college degree opportunities to their employees is a win-win for business and employee growth. We’re very proud to be working with best-in-class employers to expand this opportunity to tens of thousands of new working adults in the coming months.

-Paul LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University 

Grads of Life

Take a look at our fact sheet to learn more about how the White House is partnering with employers to equip hardowrking American with the skills they need to advance into better-paying jobs.