Cheryl Oldham Cheryl Oldham
Senior Vice President, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation
Vice President, Education & Workforce Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


December 20, 2022


Looking back on 2022 fills me with pride and a sense of awe at all the team has accomplished in 12 short months. The Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation continues to conceive of and lead long-term systems change in education and workforce—the underpinnings of American competitiveness and prosperity. None of which would be possible without our partners who put their faith in our work, finance new ideas, take what we’ve invented and implement it in communities across the country and outside our borders.

We are humbled by the trust of long-term funders and collaborators and thrilled to welcome new partners. In 2022, we welcomed Seldin/Haring Smith Foundation, Aspen Institute, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and Strada Education Network to our family of collaborators. We are grateful for their thought partnership and financial support that has allowed us to grow existing work and add new. Thank you to our longer-term partners who have been with us in some cases for over a decade — W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ballmer Group, Walton Family Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation, Walmart, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and Lumina Foundation.

Now to the work. It would be impossible to do it all justice in one short piece, so I hope to hit the highlights and take a brief look into the new year.

Over the last couple years, I think we can all agree we’ve had a renewed appreciation for childcare and a recognition that this type of support for working parents is having a direct impact on the labor force, our ability to recover post-pandemic, and the overall economy. In 2022, businesses were still struggling with retaining employees and labor force participation were at critical lows, so we created an Employer Roadmap to raise awareness of how business leaders can support working parents’ childcare needs and address this barrier to work. Our video series shared stories from five states, reaching more than 816,000 viewers to educate the nation on successful employer childcare solutions.

But the business community alone can’t solve the challenges of access, affordability, and flexibility in childcare. And so, we’ve joined forces with the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to support the expansion of high-quality, affordable childcare in communities and states across the country by establishing the Early Childhood and Business Advisory Council.

With the pandemic erasing two decades of progress in math and reading for American schoolchildren, we launched a new initiative, Future of Data in K-12 Education, focused on creating better education outcomes for all K-12 students. We’ve gathered many of the top thinkers and leaders in K-12 education to provide guidance and support throughout this two-year project to better understand the last 20 years of reform and we launched a challenge asking for new thinking on innovative systems of measurement and accountability.

Our workforce portfolio continues to expand, with new initiatives and cutting-edge ideas put to practice. We began the year developing, along with the expertise of the T3 Innovation Network, a vision and roadmap for the Jobs and Employment Data Exchange (JEDx). We planned, designed and are now moving into the pilot phase. The vision is a public-private data collaborative that will improve the collection and use of jobs and employment data that will lead to better labor market information, clearer signals about jobs and skills, and the critical infrastructure necessary to scale new innovations like Learning and Employment Records (LER). Stay tuned for announcements around which states will lead with us in 2023.

Our signature workforce initiative, Talent Pipeline Management (TPM)®, continues to grow in users, in content and in impact. It’s hard to believe this movement began with an idea and white paper eight years ago. Now, more than 3,000 employers in 44 states, D.C., and Canada, are using our Talent Pipeline Management curriculum to improve the way they recruit, hire, and train their employees. We are fortunate to have a network of TPM practitioners and fellows across the country that are achieving measurable outcomes as a result of their hard work. We continue to tell their stories and document their successes.

We are also adding new tools to support our TPM practitioners as they build supply chains of talent and connect job seekers to careers. For example, the newly launched JobSIDE initiative will help employers find qualified workers based on candidate skills rather than credentials. And as employers invest more and more in upskilling and reskilling, as part of our Talent Finance work, we partnered with SHRM to understand how business is financing that investment in their employees. Together with companies, providers, and experts we have been exploring the effectiveness of current employee education benefits and in 2023 will propose ways in which those benefits can be reimagined and improved to better serve employers and workers.

We added to our work in economic security in 2022 with research on the impact of benefits cliffs on labor force participation. This fall we released the report highlighting key findings and recommendations for how state and federal programs can be improved to increase labor market participation.

For the launch of this work and throughout this year and years past, we have worked closely with our network of state and local chamber leaders to share our research, test new ideas, and implement the systems change solutions we’ve designed. Without them, this work would not have the impact we’re seeing. We are so grateful for the hundreds of chamber partners, practitioners, and friends across the country.

They are in part why we created the Business Leads Fellowship Program — to build the capacity of chambers in communities in every state that view education and workforce as a top priority for economic growth and opportunity. In 2022, the fellowship program wrapped Cohorts 5 and 6 and launched Cohort 7. Business Leads now includes in its ranks of grassroots leaders 255 fellows representing state and local chambers from 48 states who are now working to better connect education systems and students to jobs and opportunity — and helping close America’s skills gap.

And finally, an exciting announcement: In January, we will launch TPM Co/Lab™, an online learning platform that delivers the TPM Academy® training on demand. TPM Co/Lab will dramatically expand the reach of the TPM framework and will allow us to deliver these strategies to anyone with a computer. This has been a multi-year effort to get to this point and a labor of love for a small but extremely dedicated and talented TPM team.

As the work to create meaningful education and workforce solutions continues, it’s clear the work cannot be done alone. We are thankful for the opportunity to embark on bold ideas, and thankful for the internal and external support that makes those ideas a reality. And most of all, we are thankful to you for coming along on this journey with us. Look for more announcements and new projects in 2023 and years to come.

About the authors

Cheryl Oldham

Cheryl Oldham

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