- The Ad Council, Apple, IBM and the White House are planning to launch a national campaign highlighting "how young and working adults can develop the skills in demand for today's job market," an Ad Council spokesperson told Education Dive in an email Monday.
- It will be funded and supported by a coalition of private companies, education institutions and industry groups.
- The campaign reflects a push by the Trump administration to raise the profile of workforce training programs.
News of the campaign was first reported by Inside Higher Ed, which noted that it was originally scheduled to debut in January 2020. The Ad Council spokesperson told Education Dive that it would launch "in coming weeks," though they did not address further questions about the scope, cost or distribution plans for the campaign.
This wouldn't be the first time the Ad Council took on workforce development. In 2017, it partnered with the nonprofit Grads of Life on a campaign calling attention to the value workers without college degrees can bring to employers.
Executives from IBM and Apple, along with the White House, are associated with the campaign through a task force established via executive order in 2018, according to the council. The American Workforce Policy Advisory Board includes 25 business and education leaders and aims to put the spotlight on workforce development initiatives.
The U.S. Department of Commerce included developing "a national campaign promoting multiple education and training pathways" on the advisory board's initial list of priorities.
Minutes from the group's December meeting indicate it had made progress on that front, recommending the development of a private sector-led national campaign that would raise awareness of multiple pathways to employment.
That campaign would use a range of digital, social, TV and radio advertisements to target people ages 16 to 20 who haven't started postsecondary education as well as working adults who may be thinking about changing careers, according to a document posted on the Commerce Department's website.
In particular, the campaign would counter "perceptions that a traditional college education is the only or primary vehicle for career success," according to the document. It would also challenge notions that "employers only value degreed talent."
The Trump administration has repeatedly emphasized its interest in workforce development, both within and outside of traditional institutions of higher education.
Last summer, the U.S. Department of Labor granted $183.8 million to colleges and industry partners for apprenticeships in fields such as health care, advanced manufacturing and information technology. That department has also moved to revamp its apprenticeship structure to include a wider range of jobs and industries.
The Education Department, meanwhile, is testing an initiative to expand Federal Work-Study funding to private-sector employment in jobs related to students' fields of study. It would also cover curriculum-mandated employment, such as clinical rotations. However, the administration has previously tried to gut FWS program funding while calling for the program to be overhauled.
The push comes as the private sector calls on colleges to provide more career-specific education and as confidence wanes in the value of a traditional college education.