Matthew Rooney, Senior Advisor at the George W. Bush Institute, and Tiffany Melvin, President of the NASCO Network, announce the upcoming release of a North American workforce policy review.
The three United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) partners share a commitment to making the North American region more competitive and its supply chains more resilient. This commitment is anchored in Chapter 26 of the Agreement, which creates a North American Competitiveness Committee.
The agreement outlines that the Committee is empowered to “… develop cooperative activities in support of a strong economic environment that incentivizes production in North America, facilitates regional trade and investment, enhances a predictable and transparent regulatory environment, encourages the swift movement of goods and the provision of services throughout the region, and responds to market developments and emerging technologies.”
The Bush Institute, in partnership with North American Strategy for Competitiveness, Inc.(NASCO), have supported and informed the work of the USMCA Competitiveness Committee by hosting and contributing to events in Dallas, Mexico City, and Winnipeg, Manitoba, to further the Committee objectives. From these events and recommendations, a clear opportunity has emerged to focus on workforce development – the very foundation of our region’s competitiveness.
In September 2022, we released our North American Workforce Initiative Recommendations which included, among other recommendations, a call for a trilateral baseline policy review. The Bush Institute and NASCO Workforce Initiative has been working diligently on this policy review and we are please to announce it is set for publication in March 2023.
This baseline study is an important first step toward informing truly regional workforce development policy. This trilateral review will highlight where workforce development processes and initiatives overlap in all three countries and where there is opportunity to bridge existing gaps.
The study will look first at large companies that operate in all three countries, and highlight existing methods of recruitment, training, and retention across the region. Additionally, it will examine the current processes and outcomes by country. The study will close with key recommendations around the skills ecosystem and skills trade, as well as the nearly qualified and opportunity populations.
Opportunity populations represent an untapped talent pool, and include individuals who face educational, social, financial, legal, or other obstacles to building and maintaining a sustainable life. One in every two working age Americans is a member of an opportunity population. Given the breadth of opportunity populations, meeting the demand for skilled, competent job seekers will necessarily include increasing access and participation among this key demographic.
We are encouraged by the continued focus on competitiveness at the North America Leaders’ Summit and the upcoming USMCA Deputies meeting, and we look forward to continuing to encourage the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, the Mexican Secretaría de Economía, and Global Affairs Canada to collaborate toward a more competitive workforce across North America.