IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 3, 2001

Mayors Tackle Nationwide Skills Gap
Conference Leaders to Host Regional Skills Summit in Boston on June 7

Washington, DC -- Leaders of The United States Conference of Mayors announced today that they will convene the third in a series of regional "Mayors Skills Summits" with the private sector, educators, labor, and workforce professionals to call attention to the widening "skills gap."

EVENT: Regional Urban Skills Summit- A Conference in Partnership with U.S. Department of Labor and The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM)

DATE: Thursday, June 7, 2001

TIME: 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM

PLACE: Westin Hotel, Copley Place

BACKGROUND:
The Mayors hope that the Skills Summits will bring national attention to best practices, recommend innovative solutions and communicate mayoral priorities in workforce development. "Mayors are in the people business, so my job as Mayor is finding every opportunity to develop the human capital of our city," said Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who chairs the Conference of Mayors Advisory Board. "We are looking for our business partners to step up and make real investments to build the skills in our non-management workforce, especially those employees who are new or reentering the labor force. The Urban Skills Summit I will host in Boston will be a forum for all the stakeholders in the Northeast economy - business, local officials, educators and labor - to set out strategies for the region's future growth."

At the Skills Summits Mayors will develop specific goals and policy objectives on addressing the skills gap in the nation's workforce. These recommendations will form the foundation for a national report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, which will be presented by the Mayors in Detroit at the 69th Annual Conference of Mayors.

Local government leaders across the nation overwhelmingly agree that while significant untapped economic opportunities exist in their communities, they simultaneously face serious shortages of qualified workers in their cities. According to the report Examining Skill Shortages in America's Cities, released by the Conference of Mayors in June 2000, training the local workforce to stay competitive in a changing economy is the number one challenge for 90 percent of Mayors surveyed. In addition, 86 percent of Mayors reported that the technology sector of their local economy is the industry most seriously affected by the shortage of qualified workers.

"If there is one challenge that faces us in building a better city, it is that we must close the skills gap and create a city with better jobs," Conference of Mayors Vice President New Orleans Mayor Marc H. Morial. "In New Orleans, we have an uncompromising commitment to the promise of economic development through workforce development and have developed a strategic collaboration of business partners and stakeholders to make it happen."

Copies of the report Examining Skill Shortages in America's Cities are available from the Conference's Office of Public Affairs at (202) 861-6765, or on their website at usmayors.org/68thAnnualMeeting/skills0612.htm.

CONTACTS:
USCM: Jubi Headley, (202) 293-7330 office; (202) 744-9337 mobile
City of Boston: Conny Doty, (617) 918-5252 office; (781) 649-6473 pager

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,200 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.

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