U.S. Department of Commerce Outlines New Workforce Policy Agenda

US Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo has announced a Department Administrative Order (DAO) to establish a Department of Commerce workforce policy agenda focused on preparing workers with the education and skills necessary to facilitate the development and deployment of new, emerging technologies critical to U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The DAO frames a DOC approach to workforce investments that is employer-led, worker-centric, and fully integrated into the Department’s previous work through the Biden-Harris Investing in America agenda. 

“America is the most competitive country in the world, and that’s because of the strength of our workforce. But if we want to stay ahead, we need to ensure we are empowering our workers with the skills they need to secure the good-paying jobs we’re creating under President Biden’s Investing in America agenda,” said Secretary Raimondo. “The diversity of our workforce is our greatest asset, and to make our country even more competitive, we can’t have any Americans stuck in the margins of our economy. The order I’m announcing today highlights how the Department of Commerce is investing more than $1.6 billion in our workforce and the support services needed to upskill and connect workers with family-sustaining jobs in their communities in key industries that will keep the United States at the forefront of our 21st-century economy.”

The DAO cements two sets of principles that have guided the Department’s workforce development programs. First, the DAO establishes Principles for Workforce Investments, which reflect the employer-led, worker-centric approach to the Department’s workforce development programs as first developed and implemented under the Good Jobs Challenge, and which continue to guide workforce program development across the Department. 

Second, through the Good Jobs Principles, the DAO helps to ensure that the Department’s programs support the creation of good jobs as a building block for equitable economic growth. Developed in partnership with the Department of Labor, the Good Jobs Principles provide a framework for workers, employers, labor unions, advocates, researchers, state and local governments, and Federal agencies for a shared vision of job quality.

The DAO sets in Department policy the notion that economic and workforce development are inextricably linked. Therefore, DAO specifies 3 parts in the Department’s new approach to workforce development:

  1. Invest in employer-driven education and training systems
  2. Foster transformative employer practices
  3. Produce timely data to help Americans develop and advance. 

Finally, the DAO establishes the Commerce Workforce Council to develop and implement the Department’s workforce policy, programs, and initiatives and to coordinate with other Federal agencies. The DAO charges this Council with conducting an annual inventory of programs, funding, and personnel; setting metrics and goals on the aggregate outcomes of the Department’s programs, and publishing an annual report on its activities.

For more information on this Department Administrative Order, it can be read in full here