New Models for Business Engagement Game Changers for Small Business


For American small businesses—our largest job creators—talent is anything but abundant.

In today’s economy, talent is king. Yet, for American small businesses—our largest job creators—talent is anything but abundant.

Many small businesses are hard pressed to commit the time to engage education and workforce partners for good reason. For one, they have little time, resources, or bandwidth to commit to efforts outside of their core business. The bureaucracy of our education and workforce systems can seem impenetrable and certainly not user-friendly to a small business.

Yet another reason is the number of job openings they have vary from year to year and the volume of those openings might be quite small compared to workforce programs that are built for scale. The result? Small business owners spending more hours and days working more than one job and future workers arriving not as prepared as they could be.

However, the times are changing and new models for business engagement and workforce partnerships are emerging that can be game changers for small business. For one, small businesses such as Wyoming Machine, Inc. are stepping up and showing us how small business can be part of the workforce solution. Wyoming Machine is finding smart, tactical ways to change perceptions about careers in manufacturing and, together with other small manufacturers, is finding ready partners in the community that can provide training and credentialing pathways for future and current employees.

At the Chamber Foundation, we too are working through our Talent Pipeline Management (TPM) initiative to help form collectives of small to mid-size employers that can expand their leverage when implementing career pathway partnerships that meet their most pressing workforce needs.

Addressing our country’s workforce development challenges is no longer a big business problem. In fact, small businesses may yet deliver the most innovative and important solutions for creating real pathways to opportunity in today’s economy.

Originally published in the U.S. Chamber and MetLife Q4 Small Business Index