In this 35-minutes episode, host Rick Maher is joined by Stuart Andreason, Director of the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Stuart explains the role of the Federal Reserve in the workforce development system, and how data drives that work. Discover the re-skilling that needs to happen in order to keep up with technological advances, and how the system can become both bigger and more nimble. Stuart also shares insights about how “braiding” funds and leveraging private sector investments can help scale efforts, even in a time of declining budgets.
Stuart Andreason directs the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which aims to highlight changes in the economy and how those changes drive what skills workers and businesses need to be successful as well as policies and programs that help people succeed in the labor market. When workers can find and are prepared for quality jobs, and when businesses are productive, the economy can grow. Mr. Andreason is also responsible for representing perspectives of low wage workers in monetary policy discussions at the Fed.
Introduction: Welcome to Talent Talks. Each month, human resources veteran Rick Maher, welcomes America's thought leaders to discuss ways to reinvent America's talent development and education systems. Tune in and discover how we can drive global competitiveness for future generations. Talent Talks is presented by Maher & Maher and IMPAQ International who, together, are delivering research and evidence-based solutions to workforce challenges. And now, your host, Rich Maher.
Rick Maher: Thanks for joining us today on Talent Talks as we explore the world of talent development with another of our nation's most prominent thought leaders. Today's guest is Stuart Andreason, the director of the Center of Workforce, Economic Opportunity at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In his role at the Atlanta Fed Reserve, Stuart is responsible for research and initiatives across the country to support Federal Reserve and partner organizations in workforce development, the labor market, the economic opportunities for low and moderate income families. He's published on workforce policy and trends, particularly focused on opportunity, occupations, or middle-skill jobs that pay families sustaining wages. Prior to joining the Fed in 2014, Stuart worked at the Penn Institute for Urban Research at the University of Pennsylvania. He teaches economic development analysis at Georgia Institute of Technology and serves on the board of the Center for Working Families in Atlanta. Stuart is a graduate at University of Virginia and holds a PhD in city and regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania.
Rick Maher: I know Stuart from my work with the Department of Labor and have followed his growing contributions pretty closely. I'm always looking for his advice on better ways to coordinate the efforts of the Fed with the broader workforce development system, and just so happy to be able to bring his perspective to our listeners on Talent Talks today. Stuart, welcome to Talent Talks.
Stuart A.: Thanks so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here today and excited to talk about some of the stuff that we've been working on and talk about trends that we've seen in the economy in workforce development and talk about how we hope that the Fed can help support everyone's collective efforts towards creating opportunities for workers and for businesses and really advancing the workforce development system.
Rick Maher: That's great, Stuart, and it's really cool to have you here today and to help our listeners get some insight into the Federal Reserve's role here. So, let's have at it. Let's dive right in. I think most people think of the Fed as that body that regulates interest rates, Stuart, and it oversees the general health of the American economy. From my perspective, at least, it seems like many people don't understand you have a legislative role in the workforce, and sometimes for those who do understand you have that role, they're confused as to what it is, and there are even some I know of that view it as competitive to the workforce development system, and I know it isn't, but I think there's that perspective there. So, can you give us just a few minutes? What exactly is your role in workforce and how does it fit in to the overall puzzle of the broader workforce development system in the country?
Stuart A.: Sure. One of the things that I always say about the Fed is that we do the things that people think that we do. We do help to set what is called the Fed funds rate, which is a baseline, overnight lending rate for banks, then can have effects on other interest rates throughout the economy. We help regulate banks for safety and soundness and we help facilitate, monitor the payment system in the United States. So, ACH transfers and retail payments, we help to facilitate that in a number of ways. But we also have another function, which is in community and economic development, particularly to help people, talking in our regulatory terms, low and moderate income families, but also, just speaking in plain terms, people that are looking to move up and advance their economic opportunities.
Rick Maher: Sure.
Stuart A.: That's something that you see at every Federal Reserve bank across the country. We have done that since the '70s, but it actually fits in more broadly to our legislative mandate, which is two things. Number one, it's to help maintain stable prices, which we actually define as inflation of about two percent, which people ... you'll hear people watching what's happening with the Fed and where inflation is and how well we're doing that, but the other part of what we call our dual mandate is promoting maximum sustainable employment. So, that fits in to our broader efforts to make sure that the economy is coming along, it's growing, and it's able to engage everyone that we need in the workforce to be able to grow.
Stuart A.: We have looked at that mandate and really started to say ... For years, we have thought that part of our meeting that goal is through creating broad, general demands, setting interest rates at a place where the economy can grow, that businesses will need workers, and you see general good growth in the economy, but coming out of the last recession ... So, in recovery from the last recession, we started to really realize that if we're going to meet maximum sustainable employment, it might mean that there's more that needs to be done to do that, there's more than just a correctly placed baseline interest rate, creating broad demand, and you can think of that in a number of different ways. So, we, obviously, looked at GDP a lot. Now, in its simplest calculation, GDP growth is the number of people who are working-
Rick Maher: Yeah.
Stuart A.: ... with a function of how productive they are.
Rick Maher: Yep.
Stuart A.: Now, workforce development touches both of those. We know that there are workforce development programs that help get people engaged in the workforce, these might be people that are struggling or have significant barriers to actually being employed, and you can think about a lot of programs that help people deal with criminal backgrounds or help people with…
Rick Maher: [crosstalk]. Yep.
Stuart A.: Exactly.
Rick Maher: Yep.
Stuart A.: ... deal with transportation problems, deal with childcare problems that actually help people to get in to a first job, and it may not be a perfect job, it may not be a great job, but there are a lot of programs that help, simply, make people available for work. Then, the other part is how productive are they? And we know that in some ways, and we certainly hear from business that we have things that people in the workforce development system hear all the time, that there's a need to continue to upscale people who are already working, and if you translate that into economic speak, that's improving their productivity. And so workforce development touches both of those, and we realize that as part of the work that we did, we needed to better understand how those things happened and make sure that everyone that needs some support in that is actually doing it so that we can support our broader goals of making sure that we've got as many people employed and that we're helping to grow employment as much as we can.
Stuart A.: Now, let me talk just a little bit about what our actual role is. We're mandated to make sure that those things happen, but our tools, we don't have any actual tools in the way that the workforce development systems are.
Rick Maher: [crosstalk] not into service delivery per se, right?
Stuart A.: No, no. And we don't actually ... We're not into service delivery. We don't actually even set the policies. Really, the only policies that we set are monetary policies…
Rick Maher: Right.
Stuart A.: ... and all workforce development policies are fiscal policies. So, really, the only policy that we set is that interest rate. Certainly, that's what we think of an important component, but in terms of setting spending on education or labor or workforce development, those are still all done by the federal government and by state and local governments. We have capacity in a couple of different areas, and one is we think that because of the way that we work and the broad spectrum of the economy that we touch, we've got some helpful information coming from the business community and people that are outside of the workforce development system. We believe that we've got some access to data and resources to help monitor data that's collected on the workforce development system…
Rick Maher: Absolutely.
Stuart A.: ... and we're an institution that's long had some research capacity, and so we think that we can access that data, we can access qualitative business intelligence and then produce some research and then help bring people together to better understand that. So, what we really hope to do in the work that we're doing is to identify important and useful information and questions that are coming out of the workforce development system and people that are actively working to change policies and run programs to get people into jobs, and then to help inform their decision-making process, potentially pull in some new partners who are interested or potentially able to help, and then facilitate a conversation about what are some of the best ways forwards, and ways forward in terms of policy and programming to make workforce development effective to get people into work, increase their opportunities, and help the country grow.
Rick Maher: And that makes sense. So, your role in the workforce side is, it sounds like, is as an intermediary, a collector of data, and a partner to the workforce system that we think of when we talk about workforce development, and helping to engage them and help them understand the needs of business, and better connect to the business community, and that makes perfect sense. So, you're not a competitor, you're a collaborator. Give us a sense, then, if you could, Stuart ... Just give an example or two of the kinds of initiatives that you got going out there that people in the workforce development system, and frankly, in the education and training providers, should know about. Give us some examples of what you're doing, what your initiatives are right now.
Stuart A.: Sure, sure. And let me talk about this, I guess, over a couple of years of evolution. I started this work just under five years ago now at this point with the Fed, and we started a few, those five years ago, looking at what are some of the best states of practice in terms of workforce development? We saw a lot of the things that have really been enshrined in legislation now, sector partnerships, dual customer models, close relationships with business, serving the needs of employers and employees, and so we saw that those programs were really effective, and we looked at research that showed how that worked.
Stuart A.: And then right about the time that I joined in 2014, we started to look at just, with broad reactions from policymakers and researchers, how then could policies really support those programs. We saw a number of different things. We saw efforts to align and better collaborate with economic development to pull in and blur some of the silos that exist between some of the funding, but one of the things that, coming out of that, that we also realized ... There's a couple of things that we just continued to hear, both from stakeholders and the ... We saw as we looked at the policy environment and as we looked at the practice environment, we said that ... So, we know a couple of things. We really know how to run an effective program and get people into jobs that are going to be really advancing both the competitiveness of firms, but also the economic outcomes for workers.
Stuart A.: But a lot of those programs, when we started to look, then, at the other thing that we spent a lot of time looking at, which is the broad economic trends, which everyone understands, and I don't have a ton to add on that, but we know that technology has changed the workforce a lot and it's going to continue to do that going into the future. We saw the need for workforce programs to find ways to be bigger and faster or more agile. The technological change isn't new. What's new is the pace of technological change. It continues to get faster and faster, and so you may establish an effective program and in two years, really have to change it.
Stuart A.: But the other thing that we saw, and looking at some of these really effective sector partnerships, is the scale could be much, much greater. Many of them are serving a couple hundred people a year. Some of the biggest ones are in the couple thousands of people per year. But when you start to then look at, let's take, then, some of the numbers for occupations that might be affected by, let's say, driverless cars, occupational drivers are in the couple millions at any given time, and I'm not saying that drivers are going to disappear, but we certainly hear a lot about that. I don't know if they'll disappear or not, but if they did, the numbers that we have available for reskilling and retraining, slots available in a lot of the programs are not commensurate to what may happen with technological change.
Stuart A.: So, we started to look and say, "Okay, so we have some ideas about what we need to do. How do we get them bigger?" And one of the things that we saw as we were looking at this world is there's an inclination among a lot of stakeholders or contributors to the workforce system that looks at workforce development as a set of costs rather than investments. And so in 2017, we started going on ... We held over 50 listening sessions across the country, listening to people talk about how they considered workforce development as an investment in all of these things, in local economic competitiveness.
Stuart A.: So, we heard from economic developers who talked about how they were investing in their workforce so that they could better attract business, and we were hearing about businesses who were investing in workers and the way that they structured work in terms of the benefits and whole package of effort to make their workers more engaged, reduce turnover, we heard about policymakers who had been able to reframe the thinking around workforce development given some of these changes away from costs and things that just were for people who needed a second chance towards things that really provided benefits to society, that investing in ex-offenders might mean that they don't go back to prison,-
Rick Maher: Right.
Stuart A.: ... which saved a lot of money in the justice system. So, we've been spending a lot of time, and we've got a huge volume coming out in the beginning of November-
Rick Maher: Okay.
Stuart A.: ... called Investing in America's Workforce, and it's got three big sections. One is called Investing in Workers, but looks to provide some frames and bases for how people can think about investing rather than spending on disadvantaged workers and reducing barriers for ... The second section is called Investing in Work, which looks at both the quality of work, but how economic developers and how rural communities are investing in the actual availability of work and how the structure of work can enhance productivity. And then the final one really looks to build out a better understanding of the systems and the way that the system can change. It's called Investing in Systems for Employment Opportunities, so it looks at government funding, it looks at new financial models, it looks at how workforce development can connect to the other systems of support work, like transportation and housing. So, that's all going to be available. And what we're really looking at in 2019 is how that book, as well as some of the information that came from the listening sessions can actually, really connect in to efforts on the ground to increase and expand opportunities for workers and employers.
Rick Maher: There you go. That's an example of the kinds of information and connectivity to the needs of business and communities in general that workforce development system readers are going to want to have access to, and I'm going to make sure before we get out of here people know how to get access to it. That's really timely and great information. Just great stuff, Stuart.
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Rick Maher: And I love this concept of we need to get bigger, right? That's very interesting to me, and I keep thinking about this as you were answering my first question about the Fed's role, and you talked about the Fed as we regulate interest rates as a means of trying to manage inflation and we invest in and try to connect on the workforce development side and try to enhance productivity as a means of influencing employment, and when you listen to you talk about your legislative roles, I'm sitting here thinking, "Wow, let's see. We've got two percent inflation and we've got 3.9, or whatever, percent unemployment." You guys must be feeling pretty good about yourselves about right now, yet we know in this system ...
Rick Maher: I keep reading about this, people get tired of listening to talk about age of disruption, but I'm not going to stop because I think we are in an age of disruption. You talked about technology, and I keep reading about reports from The World Economic Forum that by 2030, 350 million people, globally, are at risk of being unemployable from technology. You talked about, potentially, the driverless car and 3D printing and so forth. So, when I see ... Despite our good numbers right now, when I see this kind of disruptive influence forming on the horizon, how do we cope with that from your perspective? How do we get bigger and nimbler? It doesn't seem like we have the capacity to deal with this type of disruption. Do we, Stuart?
Stuart A.: I certainly share some of the concerns, and I want to look to history a little bit to talk about how this type of disruption really plays out. I try to look back to two points in history. One is the Industrial Revolution that took a huge number of our workers out of agriculture and into manufacturing and into cities. We had a steep decline now to where, I think, it's under one or two percent of the population actually works in agriculture.
Rick Maher: Wow.
Stuart A.: Huge, huge disruption at the turn of the century. Most of that took care of itself. People saw what happened, they moved to a city, they took a manufacturing job, and it takes care of itself. The other part of it is that there's a big, big change. Let's just look in the much more recent history with the change in the travel industry.
Rick Maher: Yeah.
Stuart A.: I've been saying 20 years ago, I think, it's probably now 30 years ago, when Orbitz and travel websites and self-booking started taking off, and I'm sure that if people can take themselves back to the town that they grew up in, there might've been a couple of actual travel agencies with a number of people working at it, a great, small business for a lot of people to run.
Rick Maher: Yeah.
Stuart A.: Now, they're not all gone. There are some people that still book that way. There's some people that provide services that are great for employers, but there's certainly not of the size and scope that you imagine anymore.
Rick Maher: Right.
Stuart A.: We don't have those anymore. They've been replaced by cupcake shops and Crossfit gyms. My guess is that some of the people that might've run a travel agency had said, "Hey, you know what? I see what's happening, and I've got to change and figure something else out, and I'm going to be a different type of entrepreneur, and I'm going to open a cupcake shop," and they do that. That transition is fine. We need to make sure that that worker is supported with a couple of things, some lifelong learning so they can understand what's happening, some potential reskilling away from understanding one industry to understanding a new retail environment or understanding a different business service environment. There's changes of all different types, and so we need to help those people out.
Stuart A.: There is a worker in these types of transitions that's at a real disadvantage. It's someone that's towards the end of their career, that's worked in the same industry for a couple of decades, and they have real challenges in making that transition. So, put simply, the younger and early career workers manage that transition well. Workers that maybe had retirement in their windshield, on the horizon, really, really struggle, and we have never done well with that. And so these ... The one thing is I don't want to sound like a [inaudible]. The technological change is really important, and overall, we think of ourselves as a whole nation or a society, these technological advances make life better for us, they maybe make something a little cheaper, maybe make us all a little bit healthier, whatever that advance is overall good, but usually, there's someone that has to pay a price for that, you know? A small segment of people, particularly workers, potentially, and business owners, that have to pay a deep price for everyone feeling a little bit better. And we've never done well with that in a policy environment. We could do much better.
Stuart A.: And part of that, I do believe, is scaling up the workforce development system and the education system now and really injecting lifelong learning into a lot of places that we don't think about lifelong learning. So, this is not you found out that you're going to lose your job and you go to a job center, you get some retraining, and you get put into a new position, but it's really saying, "We've got a world that's changing. Our goal is to make sure that you are employable for life. Not necessarily employed for life at the same place, but employable for life. As long as you want and need to work, you're getting the education that keeps you productive and competitive," and we don't do it that way.
Stuart A.: We've really, at this point, [served] the gaps in the system. We need to think how we, as a whole, and this is not just the traditional workforce development community, but it's the education community, it's the business community that's doing training on-site, how we think of that as a whole system that promotes lifelong learning, that gets lifelong learning in front of drivers, who ... When you say lifelong learning, you think, "I'm going to take a week off of my office job and I'm going to be at a seminar and learn a new skill." We need to make sure that that's happening in a number of different environments. That means different technology. Maybe those needs to be delivered on a tablet that someone can work on when they're at a rest stop…
Rick Maher: Yeah, right.
Stuart A.: ... taking a break from driving. So, we need to think about delivery. We need to use that technology to be bigger and broader, we need to think about making sure that we're hitting the right segments, and we need to be doing it constantly.
Rick Maher: Awesome. Again, we've talked previously, and you keep talking to me about this constant that you have, the workforce system needs to get bigger, broader, more nimble, and you just gave an example of how we need to think about continuous lifelong learning as, not just something that kid that has his bachelor's degree working on the master's at night while they have a full-time job in an office, but the truck driver, the manufacturing worker, the warehouse worker ... Everybody needs to have access to these things. So, I do think it's important.
Rick Maher: And I really love your concept of our system needs to think about being bigger, moving more to scale, being more nimble, and yet I know there are people listening to this, Stuart, who are going to say, "Yeah, right. It's easy for these guys to say. Meanwhile, every year, my budget gets cut. Meanwhile, I have declining resources." It sounds to me, like, what I hear you talking about is something bigger than something that's going to be driven by federal funding, right? I know, in previous conversations, you have these big ideas about better braiding, better connecting, other pools of funds. Just give us a short idea, anyway, on how do we get bigger and nimbler when, obviously, our traditional funding streams are not necessarily pointing in that direction. What do you [crosstalk]…
Stuart A.: Sure.
Rick Maher: ... there?
Stuart A.: Yeah. This is a big challenge. This is why we've been really spending a ton of time thinking about workforce development in that investing framework that I talked about because that's absolutely true. I think people are pinched everywhere, but we ... Where we sit, we're lucky in that we don't have to live our day-to-day lives in a specific federal program, and we can take a step back and say, "Okay. So, aside from X, Y, or Z, or A, B, C program, let's look at what the world looks like and what needs to happen," and I agree that there needs to be probably some actual additional investment, more money going into the system, but we also need to think about how we better leverage a lot of the things that exist.
Stuart A.: So, the baseline, which we're not the first people to say this, we're not the first ones to come up with the term, but we need to make sure that every community has people that do a very good job at braiding what does exist. And this is just layering WIOA money with SNAP with potential TANF programs that are being operated in the state to pull in a Pell Grant so that someone can then take all that and go to a community college and get a degree or a credential that gets them into a field of work.
Stuart A.: There's lots of different ways of navigating the stuff that does exist, and we start to look like a much more full and rich workforce development system when you just simply say, "Well, our workforce development system is a braid of social supports and workforce development Department of Labor programs and things that are offered at the community college, and we know about this state program that helps pay for this certification." Braiding together what does exist and making that intelligible both for employers and job seekers and employees makes the system seem much fuller.
Stuart A.: While that still may be in decline, we have something that starts to look like it's more at a scale that can resolve big labor market problems, but that's not it. We also need to think about the private actors, and these are not my exact numbers. These are numbers that are coming from the Georgetown Center on Education in the Workforce, but they put together some estimates. So, Pell Grants are about $24 billion a year. The workforce development system under Title 1 of WIOA, about $3 billion a year. So, together, that's ... Let's just call it $30 billion when you pull in some of the other titles and other parts of the workforce, the Department of Labor programs.
Stuart A.: Businesses are the biggest spenders of money on training.
Rick Maher: Yep.
Stuart A.: Georgetown estimates somewhere between $100 and $200 billion a year that businesses spend. Now, most of that's not going to frontline workers, it's going to workers with a college degree or above, so then you say, "How do you then leverage that?" And I think that workforce development programs can start to almost rethink of the role that they play as one that is helping businesses to experiment differently and to fill the gaps that businesses can't fill themselves.
Rick Maher: No.
Stuart A.: So, instead of ... You take that couple of percentage [inaudible] almost think of themselves as a philanthropy where they're encouraging businesses to invest in frontline workers rather than just higher skilled workers, to try something new, to try something a different program than the one that they've always run, and they help to de-risk some of that behavior for businesses and they help to de-risk some of that behavior for philanthropies. You could think of a similar partnership between a workforce board and a local foundation who might already fund a relatively successful sector partnership, and maybe the workforce board helps incorporate a new population into that and double it in size. Those are huge, huge wins. They might even help to act as an incentive to get new investors.
Stuart A.: In the Investing in America's workforce book, we actually look at how there might be opportunities to incorporate new money that is seeking a return from socially-minded investors into the workforce development system that provides some return, maybe not a huge positive return, but a positive return in some new financial models, including social impact bonds or income share agreements that might really tie into the workforce development system's goals really quite well, and really, these are models that might tie in to some of their strengths really well as well. I will say that a lot of those models are relatively new, so you'd be talking about pretty big experimentation and really being on the frontier of things, but overall, a couple of things that it's going to mean is that a lot of these entities really need to start thinking about outcomes-based contracting and doing everything that they can to make sure that they're paying for wins rather than just acting as a funding intermediary for output.
Rick Maher: For Federal [crosstalk]. Right? Yeah.
Stuart A.: Exactly. Exactly.
Rick Maher: Yeah. I love it. For the listeners' sake, one of the things that I like about what you're trying to help people think through at this point, Stuart, is people have been talking about braided funding as long as I've been around, which roughly correlates to, I think, when the dinosaurs roamed the earth, and it's been a while, but when you talk about braided funding, you're not just talking about just braiding federal programs. You're essentially, also, talking about braiding funding with employers, meaning ... We're not just talking about fee for service, although, I guess that's part of the equation, too. I love this idea of what you called de-risking business behaviors, which, as I understand it, is about helping employers understand, "Look, you want to do this kind of work in sectors. I can help you by braiding federal funding from a variety of sources and I can make your investment more likely to pay off." Do I get that right? Is that what you mean by de-risking these business behaviors? Yeah.
Stuart A.: Exactly. Exactly. Yes. Yep.
Rick Maher: I like it, and I want people to understand, when they hear you talk about braided funding, you're going beyond what we've heard about with braided funding before. You're including that, but you're not just talking about having the employer come a fee for service. You're really talking about expanding this into a true, private, public partnership, that we have to get bigger, we've got to get the scale, and we've got to get nimbler, and one of the people at this table is going to spend a lot of money on training and education. If we can align them, if we can all shoot at the same target, not just our public funds, but the private funds in our regional economy as well, at least we're giving ourselves a fighting chance in this age of disruption. Do I have that right, Stuart? Is that the main message here?
Stuart A.: That's right. That's our hope. We are hoping that we can watch that happen and help support that type of activity however we can. Absolutely.
Rick Maher: There you go. So, I think we've ... I hope we've done a good job today giving the people that are listening to us here a bit of a better understanding of the Fed's role, of your insights, and I guess ... I don't want to categorize things for you, but it sounds like you're coming to the table saying, "Look, we have a lot of data, we have insights from business. We don't have a silver bullet, but we want to be a partner in the conversation and we want to help catalyze better outcomes," and that you've got some resources to help people get into and involved in the conversation today. I can talk to you for hours, but we don't have hours. But what I want to do is help people continue to engage with you guys and with you, Stuart. If people want to get a copy of this book when it comes out in early November, if they want to continue to track your progress and what you're doing, how would our listeners best connect to you in the Atlanta Federal Reserve?
Stuart A.: So, I'll say a couple of things. There's two websites that everyone can look for. One is InvestInWork.org. That is really, I think, the front door to this initiative that we're talking about. The entire book is going to be up there.
Rick Maher: Okay.
Stuart A.: Now, it's a big book. You can download it by chapter, you can download the whole thing, you can request an actual, physical copy if you want it, and it'll be available for free there. So, InvestInWork.org.
Rick Maher: Okay.
Stuart A.: People can search for the Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity, or CWEO. Just any search engine will pull us up right there, and we think that that's another one of our front doors to the Fed systems…
Rick Maher: Awesome.
Stuart A.: ... efforts on workforce development. People that are trying to find me, search for Stuart Andreason on LinkedIn or Twitter, I'm active on both, and try to engage in discussions around broad workforce development, economic development, and community development activities there all the time. And so I do want to say that's not just an advertisement. We want to hear what people are working on, we want to hear about how we can be supportive of all of this. And, really, a goal for me for the next one to two years is getting a lot of the thinking and great effort that actually comes from 75 different chapters, over 100 different people contributed writing to this book, and even more to the broad initiative. We want to make sure that it doesn't just stop at a lot of thinking. We want to see what we can do to help get it activated and impactful in the real world and in programs that our people are running. So, please, do reach out, and we'll help connect to the right places.
Rick Maher: Well, you know what? That's awesome. You're connecting to some people here. Some of them, we need to say, get it already, Stuart, and are probably doing some things that would benefit your conversation, so I would encourage our listener to stay in touch, right?
Stuart A.: Absolutely. I think that there's ... One of the things that, in doing any of this stuff, is that you just learn that there's so much that you have to learn, and we want to know about that and highlight it. Yep.
Rick Maher: Awesome. Well, man, I've got to tell you, you are provoking thought leader, Stuart. Your passion and your dedication, people can hear it in your voice. I just want to thank you again for taking the time to be with us today on Talent Talks. It's been a pleasure, as always, to chat with you.
Stuart A.: Thanks so much. Thank you for having me.
Rick Maher: Our pleasure, again. Folks, I hope you've enjoyed another chapter of Talent Talks. This is Rick Maher thanking you for listening and reminding you that at Talent Talks, we hope to explore and form and inspire you because we're all actors in a global war for talent, one where talent is seen as the new global currency, and you are, essentially, America's talent investment bankers. So, we hope we've inspired you to take a risk, make a difference. We hope you'll dare to be great. Break something. Make it better. Try, fail, but for God's sake, fail fast and try again. Thanks again for listening and have a great day. We'll see you next month on Talent Talks.
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