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between agencies. Sure, various interagency task forces and working groups were (and still are) created, but the net result of that collaboration working at a macro level is difficult to assess. Today, when we talk about the impact of federal policy on meeting labor force needs, for example, we rarely refer to the Pell Grant program, even though it is an enormously important investment in talent development (roughly $32 billion in Pell Grants was awarded to students in 2013). But because it is seen as an education program- one that is clearly and unequivocally the purview of the Department of Education-there are precious few examples of ways in which this key program can be said to directly drive our nation's talent development. To do so would be considered dangerous by the advocates of the Pell program, who frequently tell me that they worry it could become conflated with "lesser" efforts like the job training programs of the Labor Department. S o what's the solution? What's needed is an agency that does two things really well. First, it must be clear about its goals and how policies align with those goals, and report honestly and accurately about what works and what doesn't. Second, it must have the capacity and authority to cut through the red tape, bureaucratic turf protecting, and collective noise of competing constituencies. No current federal agency can solve these problems on its own. The sum has to be greater than the parts. The only way we will ever get to a truly coordinated national talent If you want visual proof of the mixed messages the federal government sends immigrants, take a look at the ICE home page and you'll see that the news ticker is replete with stories about catching predators, violent offenders, and drug traffickers. strategy is to make sure that the people who control the allocation of resources and policy implementation responsibilities actually work together. What should be included in this new Department of Talent? Avoiding the wonkish issues of congressional committee jurisdiction (turf is a real impediment to change) and 60 September/October 2015 agency capacity, I'd propose three main entities as a starting point: * the current functions of the Department of Education in their entirety; * the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) of the Department of Labor; and * the talent recruitment functions of the Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) under the Department of Homeland Security. Why these entities? Let's start with the most obvious, the Department of Education. It doesn't make a lot of sense to slice off parts of this agency-all of its work is aimed at developing and deploying a diverse pool of talent for the nation, from early childhood through adult education. The mission statement of the Department of Education makes this clear: "to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access." Including the ETA from the Labor Department is critical because it administers federal job training and worker dislocation programs, federal grants to states for public employment service programs, and unemployment insurance benefits. These services are primarily provided through state and local workforce development systems, and they're key parts of a broader strategy to move people into the workforce. Meanwhile, the USCIS is home to the Entrepreneurs in Residence Program, an online reference for American employers and foreign talent. Its purpose is to generate feedback from the business community on its staffing needs and to provide skilled immigrants with the information to navigate the visa application process. This program also contains start-up training, workshops, and libraries for immigration officers. In other words, it's an effort to sync the needs of the business community with the potentially available overseas talent and encourage that talent pool to come to America with the promise of a streamlined immigration policy. Great. But is it not odd that this function would be housed in the same federal apparatus-the Department of Homeland Security-as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is also responsible for enforcement and deportation? Getting this function out of Homeland Security also helps address a mixed message. The ICE's job is heavily weighted toward enforcing immigration laws and regulations that are critical to our national economic and social security. With the USCIS housed in the same agency, the DHS is in the odd position of granting the rights to visit or stay in the United States through visas, green cards, and other mechanisms. If you want visual proof, take a look at the ICE home page and you'll see that the news ticker is replete with stories about catching predators, violent offenders, and drug traffickers. Sometimes these headlines are hard to distinguish from the headlines that welcome students and others to study in the U.S. The mix of law enforcement and nation-

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Monthly - September/October 2015

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