USMCA and Workforce Development: Building a Competitive North America


December 15, 2021

Senior officials of the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments joined leading industry and academic experts from all three countries to consider the status of North America’s workforce and the implications for North American competitiveness.

The event included an overview of a tri-lateral certification pilot program, lessons learned from the perspectives of businesses, training institutions and students, and policy recommendations for strengthening the talent pipeline across North America.

This event was co-presented with NASCO

Read the Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative’s policy recommendations.



  • Kenneth A. HershPresident and Chief Executive Officer, George W. Bush Presidential Center

Leaders’ Outlook for the Competitiveness Committee

  • Kenneth A. HershPresident and Chief Executive Officer, George W. Bush Presidential Center
  • Daniel Watson, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere (USA)
  • Luz María de la Mora, Undersecretary for Foreign Trade, Secretariat of Economy (Mexico)
  • Eric Walsh, Director General for North America for Global Affairs (Canada)

Toward a Regional Approach: Lessons from a Pilot Project

  • Tiffany Melvin, President, NASCO

Conversation one: The Benefits of a Regional Approach

  • Dr. Sergio Alcocer, President, COMEXI
  • Tom Harris, Executive Vice President, Hillwood (USA)
  • Emilio Cadena, President and CEO, Grupo Prodensa (Mexico)
  • Jean-Pierre Giroux, President, Excellence in Manufacturing Consortium (Canada)

Conversation Two: Delivering Workforce Development for North America

  • Dr. Pyeper Wilkins, Vice-Chancellor, Dallas College (USA)
  • Dr. CyLynn Braswell, Advisor, Forecast5 Analytics- a Frontline Education Company (USA)
  • Diego Piazza, Deputy Director, Government Relations, National Council of Labor Competencies Regulation and Certification (Mexico)
  • Dr. Arvind Gupta, CEO of Palette Skills (Canada)

CONVERSATION Three: North American Workforce Development in Practice

  • Anne Wicks, The Ann Kimball Johnson Director of the Education Reform Initiative, George W. Bush Institute
  • Mackenzie Holt, graduated NISD with Vet Tech Assistant (USA)
  • Ricardo Emilio Chavira, Student, Automotive Engineering (Mexico)
  • Jessica Burzminski, graduate and current instructor in Electrical, Mechanical & Manufacturing from Red River College Skill Trades Program (Canada)

Closing Remarks

  • Matthew Rooney, Managing Director, George W. Bush Institute-SMU Economic Growth Initiative