I’ve written in this space before about how reskilling is one of the defining challenges of our times—an essential lifeboat in the effort to save capitalism. So it’s encouraging to see the Business Roundtable jumping into this issue with both feet. The group, which normally spends its energy lobbying in Washington, will announce this morning a Workforce Partnership Initiative which pairs top CEOs with local colleges and universities to “accelerate and scale best-in-class workforce readiness programs.”
The initiative addresses both a short-term reality—companies face an acute shortage of workers with needed skills—and a longer-term reality—technologies like AI will rapidly change the necessary skills needed in the workforce. It’s designed to help companies get the talent they need, but also to ensure workers are prepared to take advantage of the jobs of the future. In short, a classic win-win, for business and society.
J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who chairs the roundtable, told Fortune yesterday that many member companies have programs to promote training. But he believes the Roundtable can be “a force multiplier.” “Every company does something in this area,” he said, “but it has got to be ten times more. We have to do much more of this, for the sake of America.”
The initiative will initially focus on seven regions, as test cases. Northrop Grumman CEO Wes Bush is leading the Roundtable push, and will head the effort in the Washington, D.C., area. Aon CEO Greg Case and Accenture CEO for North America Julie Sweet will take the lead in the Chicago area; Rockwell Automation CEO Blake Moret will take the lead in Milwaukee; EY CEO Mark Weinberger will lead Raleigh Durham; IBM CEO Ginni Rometty will lead in the New York area; Siemens USA CEO Lisa Davis will lead in the Southeast; and Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg will lead in Utah. You can read more about the initiative here.
Training American workers for the coming technology revolution is also a key focus of the Fortune CEO Initiative, which is holding its annual meeting in San Francisco next week. I will be reporting on that gathering here.
More news below.
Out at Intel
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has resigned following the revelation that he breached company policy by engaging in a past consensual relationship with an employee. Based on his severance agreement, he may walk away with $44.5 million, but the amount could be lower depending on how Intel’s board decides to categorize the exit in coming days. Fortune
A Taxing Decision
The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that states can force Internet retailers to collect sales taxes for shoppers in states where they have no physical presence. As Fortune‘s Phil Wahba writes, the decision is a victory for traditional retailers and state governments and potentially a loss for your online shopping habit. Fortune
Former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell talked about his abrupt exit from the advertising agency at an event at the Cannes Lions International Festival in France on Thursday, likening his departure to being “hit by the bus.” CNBC
Chipotle is still trying to fully recover from the E. coli scandal from more than two years ago. It unveiled its latest attempt on Thursday, introducing new menu items such as quesadillas, avocado tostadas, and a chocolate milkshake. The snackier items could entice more customers to pop into the restaurants during off-peak hours. Business Insider
Around the Water Cooler
The New York Times has an in-depth look at the money that goes into sheltering migrant children. It turns out it’s not a multimillion dollar business—it’s a billion dollar one. New York Times
It’s a job-seeker’s market alright, especially for ones willing to move. Cities across the country are handing out relocation bonuses—$5,000, $10,000, $15,000—in hopes of luring out-of-town workers to fill vacant jobs in their regions. Washington Post
Last year, activist investors got what they wanted at Etsy, as the board of the online marketplace fired longtime CEO Chad Dickerson and replaced him with Josh Silverman, a former EBay and American Express exec. Investors are happy with Silverman’s relentless focus on the customer experience—shares are up 200%. But Etsy’s all-important sellers, it turns out, aren’t so sure. Bloomberg
Gone to the Dogs
It’s been A. Week. Surely, puppies will help. Today marks the 20th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, an event that seeks to raise awareness and funds for animal rescues and adoption shelters. But several companies—Amazon, Salesforce, and Ticketmaster, to name a few—have embraced the practice year-round. Some see it as a workplace stress-relief tactic. Fortune