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Business Leaders Highlight Community Colleges as a Crucial Component to American Competitiveness


Accenture chairman & CEO Bill Green chairs the Business Roundtable’s Education, Innovation & the Workforce Initiative

Accenture announces community college pilot teaching program

WASHINGTON.– Business Roundtable today convened CEOs, members of Congress and leaders of community colleges to focus on the critical role community colleges must play in enhancing American competitiveness. Their role, from improving worker training to tapping and shaping the next generation of talent, is even more an imperative in today’s fragile and competitive economy.

The roundtable discussion centered on Business Roundtable’s initiative, AMERICA 21, which focuses on the policies needed to help U.S. workers better compete and succeed in the international economy. David Wessel, economics editor at The Wall Street Journal, moderated a discussion around an ambitious agenda to grow and strengthen the nation’s 1,200 community colleges.

“Business and government must work together to strengthen our nation’s system of community and two-year colleges so they can play an increasingly important role in enhancing America’s workforce and competitiveness,” said William D. Green, chairman & CEO of Accenture and chairman of Business Roundtable’s Education, Innovation & the Workforce Initiative.

“Important changes must be made in today’s system,” said Green, who got his start in a two-year institution. “First, we need to enhance, broadly, the role community colleges play in preparing people with the skills needed in today’s markets as well as launching them on a path to continue their education. These institutions are an important element of our country’s system of producing talent with the analytical and communication skills we need now for today and for the future. Second, if the country is to maintain its leadership position and competitive edge in the global economy, the billions of dollars that American taxpayers currently spend on a broken system of worker training and adjustment assistance must be better spent. Community colleges—which provide extensive technical training—are one of the vehicles we can use now to help American workers and companies.”

At the forum, Green announced an Accenture pilot program that will place select Accenture executives in teaching roles and other educational activities at local community colleges. Over the next few months, Accenture will work with the colleges to structure this program, leveraging the skills and experience of the Accenture executives to bring their real-world experience to benefit students.

“Business can provide genuine insight on what skills workers should be acquiring in order to meet today’s changing economy,” Green said. “We are very excited about the program and hope that other companies will create and adopt similar programs as we continue to look for ways to help American workers acquire the knowledge, skills and support they need to move fluidly from job to job.”

In addition to Accenture’s commitment, Business Roundtable reaffirmed its call on Congress in its report “Prospering Together: America’s Citizens, Communities and Companies” t

· Review the more than $5 billion that is currently spent on worker adjustment support programs to meet the requirements of the 21st century.

· Immediately create a bipartisan National Commission on Workforce Competitiveness to develop the design and funding mechanisms for AMERICA 21, a Business Roundtable effort that would consolidate access for all training, assistance, and education programs for workers by providing a one-click, easy to use, consumer-friendly program.

The full Business Roundtable report can be found at

In addition to Green, Business Roundtable CEOs who participated in the discussion included Dr. James Goodnight, CEO, SAS Institute Inc.; Dr. Ralph Izzo, Chairman, President and CEO, PSEG; Jerry Jurgensen, CEO, Nationwide Financial Services; and Edmund F. Kelly, Chairman, President and CEO, Liberty Mutual Group.

Members of Congress who attended included Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY); Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD); Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR); Representative Michael Castle (R-DE); Representative Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA); Representative Brad Miller (D-NC); Representative George Miller (D-CA); and Representative David Wu (D-OR).

Representatives from community colleges included George R. Boggs, president and CEO, American Association of Community Colleges; Dr. Ding-Jo H. Currie, president, Coastline Community College; Gerardo E. de los Santos, president and CEO, League for Innovation in the Community College; William H. Gary, senior vice president, workforce development, Northern Virginia Community College; Jim Henderson, senior vice president, career and technical education, Louisiana Community & Technical College System; Dr. Jim Jacobs, president-elect, Macomb Community College; Dr. Gail O. Mellow, president, LaGuardia Community College; and Dr. Diane K. Troyer, president, Lone Star College-CyFair.


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