Policy Agenda: Workforce Issues
Small businesses face particular challenges when it comes to finding and retaining skilled workers. Not only do they lack the robust resources to create job-specific training programs, but they also face barriers to offering benefits that are crucial to attracting top talent. We need to support policies that level the playing field for small businesses that can't offer robust benefits and that leverage education and training resources at the local and regional level that are closely aligned with the needs of small businesses. This includes:
- Supporting easy-to-implement mechanisms for the self-employed and small business employees to access family/medical leave and retirement benefits.
- Passing the FAMILY Act to provide partial wage replacement for small business employees to handle serious health conditions for themselves and family members.
- Expanding internship and mentoring programs to create career paths for youth, and ensure access to skilled, entry-level workers for small businesses.
- Supporting regional economic clusters/partnerships that include educational institutions with the resources to provide industry-focused training and skills development.
- Implementing studies that ensure Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) programs are meeting small business and worker needs.
- Increasing the national minimum wage to $12 per hour, understanding that creating a fair minimum wage is essential to the vibrancy of the small business economy by boosting consumer demand, reducing the burden on public assistance programs and leveling the playing field for small businesses that understand the need for properly-compensated workers.