Donny Jones, the COO of the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama, will serve in a new role assisting the Biden Administration with economic recovery policies, as part of a national workforce panel.

The appointment was announced in a press release from the Chamber Friday. Jones, who also serves as the executive director of West Alabama Works, was chosen to be one of a nationwide select few workforce development leaders to participate.

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According to the release, panel members will first gather in a few months to meet with "Biden Administration officials at the Department of Commerce, as well as Congressional leadership to help shape federal recovery policies for the manufacturing industry."

“We want to ensure that federal recovery efforts support the businesses and workers most impacted by the pandemic, particularly workers of color, women, and workers with a high school degree or less,” said Andy Van Kleunen, CEO of National Skills Coalition, in the release. “We know that skills training alone will not ensure an inclusive recovery, but we also know that it must be part of our nation’s federal policy response. If we want those policies to succeed, industry leaders must help shape them.”

This panel is facilitated by the National Skills Coalition and the Business Leaders United for Workforce Partnerships organizations. The pair have jointly worked to create four recovery panels for the healthcare, manufacturing, infrastructure, and retail/hospitality industries.

The release indicated that these panels' goals are to "ensure that federal recovery initiatives include investments in job training and support services."

In essence, these industries will likely never look the same as they did before the pandemic struck the United States, and defining that new normal is going to take a lot of careful planning and implementation. Jones, among his new panel colleagues, will work to make that happen.

“Having an available and prepared workforce will be the most critical component of our nation’s post-pandemic economic recovery,” Jones said in the release. “I am honored to be able to tell the West Alabama Works story on a national stage and advise our federal leaders on the critical importance of being innovative with workforce development initiatives.”

Several organizations and philanthropies are supporting the Industry Recovery Panel Initiative, including Walmart, JPMorgan Chase, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, and Microsoft.

For more on West Alabama Works, click here to visit their website, click here to see their Facebook page and here for their Twitter page. To visit the Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama's website, click here, or visit their Facebook here and Twitter here.

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