Tamasi participates in White House strategy sessionBy Canton Citizen
Canton resident Michael Tamasi, CEO of AccuRounds, was invited to the White House on Friday, January 31, to take part in an event convened by President Barack Obama to discuss strategies for helping our nation’s nearly 4 million long-term unemployed get back into the labor market.
Tamasi, who got a chance to voice his concerns directly to the president, was one of only two small business owners to participate in the event, which also included CEOs from national corporations such as Boeing Co., Bank of America and Ebay, as well as training providers, workforce boards, and other organizations working to help the long-term unemployed in a variety of ways.
“It was really unique; it was an incredible experience for me,” said Tamasi, who received the invitation through his work with the National Skills Coalition and Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships.
During the event, Secretary of Labor Tom Perez and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker joined Obama to discuss the administration’s latest efforts to bring attention to the long-term unemployed. Obama also announced $150 million in federal support for “job-driven training partnerships” — also known as sector partnerships — to help the long-term unemployed get back to work.
These business-led partnerships — which have been used to re-employ local residents at companies such as AccuRounds — bring together multiple firms within the same industry along with local colleges, training providers, community-based organizations, and workforce investment boards. The employers work together to define common skill standards for hard-to-fill positions, and then partner organizations align publicly funded training and support services to help the long-term unemployed re-train for new careers.
Prior to the event and the funding announcement, President Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, Perez and Pritzker, convened 20 of the top CEOs in the country to share best practices and strategize on how to collaborate in moving successful initiatives forward. Tamasi also participated in this forum, providing input from a small business perspective and asking the Fortune 100 CEOs to include small and medium enterprises in future dialogue to ensure that the entire supply chain has a voice.
“It was an honor to represent AccuRounds and small businesses across the country at the White House,” said Tamasi. “It’s encouraging that small business had a voice at the CEO roundtable, and that needs to continue. The skills gap is a serious issue and sector partnerships are the best opportunity to close that gap.”
Later that afternoon, Tamasi was a guest on the Fox Business News show “After the Bell,” further stressing the importance of sector partnerships in closing the skills gap in America. (Click here to watch Tamasi’s interview.)
In a follow-up interview with the Citizen, Tamasi reiterated a point he had made to Fox co-hosts David Asman and Liz Claman: “[AccuRounds] has five job openings right now, and I can’t fill them because there’s nobody with the skills to match the needs.”
“There is a renaissance in manufacturing taking place in this country,” he added. “We have a golden opportunity to capitalize on it and grow our economy, but we need people to be trained and skilled.”
Tamasi noted how his own company, which makes precision turned components for a variety of industries, is about to add 18,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space at its Avon headquarters. They also hope to increase employment by 50 percent over the next five years, and Tamasi made it clear what kind of employee he wants to attract.
“We need critical thinkers and problem solvers,” he said. “We need people who want to improve, and most importantly, we need people with a positive attitude.”
Reflecting on his recent whirlwind trip to Washington, Tamasi said he “went down there with a purpose and a message,” and he was proud to be a voice for small businesses across the country.
“It was really, really neat,” he said. “After all, how many people get the opportunity to tell the president how you feel? It was well worth it and something I will never forget for the rest of my life.”
For more information on AccuRounds, go to www.accurounds.com.
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