News > Skills Blog

Posts About State Initiatives and Academies

California Advocacy & Policy Academy will collaborate with 20 organizations to inform state skills training policies

National Skills Coalition (NSC) is excited to announce the twenty organizations and representatives selected for our first California Advocacy and Policy Academy (CAPA) cohort. CAPA is the first policy academy in the state focused on providing a platform for community-based organizational leaders to engage in state-level workforce development policy discussions. CAPA is a two-year initiative made possible through support from The James Irvine Foundation, Tipping Point Community, and Ballmer Group. Applications for our second cohort will be available Fall 2020.

About CAPA

Community-based organizations (CBOs) play a critical role in recruiting and training workers, providing culturally competent services, and supporting people as they work to fulfill their career aspirations. Yet too often, state skills policies fail to support these organizations. CAPA will empower participants to change this narrative. CAPA will be a platform to better connect the work being done at the local leveland the decisions being made at the state policy level. Participants in CAPA will have the opportunity to examine how CBOs and non-profit service providers can inform and be supported by state skills training policies. 

Throughout the year, members in CAPA will participate in a series of workshops designed to:

  • Build the capacity of CBO leaders and nonprofit service providers to engage in state workforce development policy. 

  • Empower more CBOs and nonprofit service providers to become more active advocates for workforce development policy change.  

  • Educate and widen participants understanding of key workforce development policy issues, the policymaking process, and landscape.  

  • Examine and understand how CBOs can inform and be supported by state skills training policies. 

  • Create a community of practice that unearths and elevates best practices that impact policy change and decisions. 

Members of CAPA will also have the opportunity to share their expertise with state peers, apply lessons learned throughout the academy, and participate in state capitol visits to inform policy decisions as it relates to skills training and education.

Applicants were selected to participate in CAPA based on their commitment to:

  • Expanding high-quality, industry-based job training and/or support services across California 

  • Working towards a more equitable economy  

  • Removing systemic barriers and creating more opportunities for people who have been structurally disconnected from economic opportunity

With that, here are the twenty names and organizations in our first CAPA cohort:

  • Daniela Alvarenga, Pomona Economic Opportunity Center, Pomona 

  • Kimberly Alvarenga, California Domestic Workers Coalition, San Francisco 

  • Cynthia Centeno Garcia, San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego 

  • Lisa Countryman-Quiroz, Jewish Vocational Services (Northern California), San Francisco  

  • Corinne Eldridge, California Long-Term Education Center, Los Angeles  

  • Ilaf Esuf, California Competes, Oakland 

  • Adine Forman, Hospitality Training Academy, Los Angeles 

  • Stacy Hollingsworth, Apprenti California, Statewide  

  • Pao Houa Lee, The Fresno Center, Fresno 

  • Joceline Jimenez, Orange County United Way, Irvine  

  • Stephanie McNally, Canal Alliance, San Rafael 

  • Maria Moreno, ROC The Bay, Oakland 

  • Peter Ortiz, Year Up, Oakland 

  • Timer Paida, Nile Sisters Development, San Diego 

  • Gitanjali Rawat, Upwardly Global, San Francisco  

  • Brianna Robinson, Opportunity Junction, Antioch 

  • Aleah Rosario, Foundation for California Community Colleges, Sacramento 

  • Adria Salvatore, Association of Woodworking and Furnishing Suppliers, Anaheim 

  • Randi Wolfe, Early Care and Education Pathways to Success, Inland Empire 

  • Carlos A. Yanes, Downtown Community Job Center, Los Angeles 

The first cohort of CAPA will run from February 2020 – November 2020. If you are interested in learning more about NSC’s work in California, visit and sign up on the Skills for CA website and email State Network Manager, Devon Miner at devonm@nationalskillscoailition.org  

Congratulations!

 

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies, California

Supportive Services Academy welcomes five states for 2020

  ·   By Michael Richardson,
Supportive Services Academy welcomes five states for 2020

National Skills Coalition is pleased to announce the five state teams that have been selected to participate in our 2019-2020 Supportive Services Academy: Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Oregon.

Through the Academy, state teams will advance state policies to expand access to supportive services so that people with lower incomes can complete education and training programs. Teams will work together along with ongoing support from NSC and will have opportunities to learn from subject matter experts and practitioner experts and participate in peer-to-peer learning.

The cost of participating in skills training goes beyond tuition or costs of a training course and includes non-tuition costs like transportation, childcare, books and supplies, equipment, etc. For too many people with low incomes – particularly people balancing the costs of training with family expenses —those costs present huge obstacles to accessing and completing a postsecondary training program.

Federal human services programs – e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – can provide these critical supportive services. Both SNAP E&T and TANF can provide education and training to recipients of SNAP food assistance and TANF cash assistance respectively. CCDBG can help provide critical assistance to help cover the costs of childcare for people participating in education, training, and/or work-based learning.

However, these programs are often underutilized by states or not used in alignment with postsecondary and workforce training efforts. In some cases, state funds may be needed to supplement federal funding to meet the needs of students participating in education and training.

Supportive Services Academy Teams will focus on topics such as braiding federal, state, and private funds to provide support for students in career pathways programs and other skills training; policies that enable greater community college student access to SNAP, childcare, and emergency funds; and establishing state-funded support services funds for students and workers participating in education and training.

The selected five state teams are:

  • Illinois
    • Chicago Jobs Council*
    • Women Employed
    • Young Invincibles
    • Safer Foundation

  • Louisiana
    • Louisiana Budget Project*
    • Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services
    • Louisiana Community & Technical College System
    • Louisiana Association for Business and Indusry

  • Mississippi
    • Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative*
    • Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, MS Women’s Economic Security Initiative
    • Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP
    • Foundation for the Mid-South
    • Women’s Foundation of Mississippi
    • Dependable Source Corp Center for Community & Workforce Development
    • Mississippi Apprenticeship Program, MS Community College Board
    • MI-BEST, MS Community College Board
    • Moore Community House Women in Construction

  • Ohio
    • Ohio Workforce Coalition*
    • Towards Employment
    • Great Lakes Community Action Partnership
    • Policy Matters Ohio
    • The Literacy Cooperative
    • Ohio Department of Job & Family Services
    • Ohio Workforce Area 7

  • Oregon
    • Portland Community College*
    • Department of Human Services
    • Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon

*Denotes lead organization

The Academy will run from December 2019 – December 2020. If you are interested in learning more about the Academy or NSC’s work on supportive services in the states, please contact State Network Manager Michael Richardson at michaelr@nationalskillscoalition.org


Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies
Applications for California Advocacy & Policy Academy now open

National Skills Coalition is launching a California Advocacy & Policy Academy (CAPA) for people from nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) in California who want to build their capacity to engage in workforce development policy and advocacy activities. Applications for participation are currently being accepted and are due November 18, 2019.

Community-based organizations play a critical role in recruiting and training workers, providing culturally competent services, and supporting people as they work to fulfill their career aspirations. Yet too often, state skills policies fail to support these organizations. CAPA will empower participants to change this narrative. CAPA will be a platform to better connect the work being done at the local level and the decisions being made at the state policy level. Participants in CAPA will have the opportunity to examine how CBOs and non-profit service providers can inform and be supported by state skills training policies.

The goals of CAPA are to:

  • Build the capacity of CBO leaders and nonprofit service providers to engage in state workforce development policy.
  • Empower more CBOs and nonprofit service providers to become more active advocates for workforce development policy change.
  • Educate and widen participants understanding of key workforce development policy issues, the policymaking process, and landscape.
  • Examine and understand how CBOs can inform and be supported by state skills training policies.
  • Create a community of practice that unearths and elevates best practices that impact policy change and decisions.

 

Academy members should represent CBOs or non-profit providers that are:

  • Expanding high-quality, industry-based job training and/or support services across California.
  • Working towards a more equitable economy.
  • Committed to removing systemic barriers and creating more opportunities for people who have been structurally disconnected from economic opportunity.

The Academy will officially launch in February 2020 and will include four in-person workshops through November 2020. Participants will be expected to attend the 2020 Skills for California Summit in Sacramento on May 13-14, 2020*.

To apply and learn more, please download the full application here.

*A stipend will be provided to cover the cost of travel and any necessary lodging

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies, California

Applications for Supportive Services Academy now open

  ·   By Michael Richardson,
Applications for Supportive Services Academy now open

National Skills Coalition is launching a Supportive Services Academy to assist state teams in advancing state policies that expand access to supportive services so that people with lower incomes can complete education and training programs. Applications for participation are currently being accepted and are due November 1, 2019.

The cost of participating in skills training goes beyond tuition or costs of a training course and includes non-tuition costs like transportation, childcare, books and supplies, equipment, etc. For too many people with low incomes – particularly people balancing the costs of training with family expenses —those costs present huge obstacles to accessing and completing a postsecondary training program.

Federal human services programs – e.g., Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) – can provide these critical supportive services. However, they are often underutilized by states or not used in alignment with postsecondary and workforce training efforts.

NSC’s Supportive Services Academy will focus on helping state teams advance policies that expand access to education and training supportive services in the following areas:

  • State policy agendas for increasing access to childcare for people participating in education, training, and/or work-based learning.
  • Career pathways programs that include career navigation and supports for childcare and transportation, financed with state higher education funding, TANF and/or SNAP E&T funding.
  • State-established support funds to provide supportive services such as coaching, service coordination, childcare, transportation, and other assistance to people with low incomes as they prepare for and succeed in work-based learning.
  • Policies that expand access to SNAP for students participating in postsecondary education.
  • Establishment and/or expansion of skills-focused SNAP E&T and/or TANF programs.
  • Any other policy area that helps students and workers to address the non-tuition costs of training so that they can secure in-demand skills and postsecondary credentials. Academy teams have the flexibility to develop and promote specific policy proposals that expand access to supportive services and work in the unique context of their individual state.


Supportive Services Academy teams will be required to apply a racial equity lens to their work advancing policies in these areas. Supportive services can advance racial equity by providing more resources to workers and students of color who, due to systemic racism, usually have greater financial needs.

Priority in team selection will be given to SkillSPAN partners. The Academy will officially launch in December 2019 and run until December 2020. To apply and learn more, please download the full application here.

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies
National Skills Coalition hosts state network-building events in Oklahoma and Louisiana

As part of its ongoing efforts to build the capacity of state partners in their network, National Skills Coalition hosted and cohosted convenings in Oklahoma and Louisiana this month through the Work-Based Learning Academy and the Louisiana Skills Policy Academy.

In Oklahoma – one of five states in NSC’s Work-Based Learning Academy – team members spearheaded the state’s first-ever Work-Based Learning Summit in Oklahoma City on June 17. Co-hosted by NSC, Oklahoma Works, the Oklahoma City Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and Oklahoma Human Resources State Council, the summit was attended by 200 stakeholders from throughout the state representing business, educators, community-based organizations, and more. A series of ‘lunch and learns’ throughout different areas of the state earlier in the year preceded this culminating event. Attendees were able to learn from peers in Oklahoma who are leading the way in work-based learning as well as other Work-Based Learning Academy team members and coaches from across the country who were featured on panels. For more information, please see the agenda. Sessions focused on the benefits of work-based learning, how industry partnerships play a pivotal role in implementing and scaling programs, and how to diversify the talent pipeline and the industries these programs are found in.

After the Summit, the Work-Based Learning Academy gathered for an afternoon and morning of meetings to mark a year of progress in the Academy. The Academy was launched in June 2018 with teams from five states: Connecticut, Indiana, Illinois, Oklahoma, and Washington. At the year mark, team members gathered to share successes and challenges from the past year and to brainstorm how to move forward most effectively to continue to achieve policy goals. A forthcoming publication will highlight the many team wins – from passing legislation to increasing awareness and more – as well as provide lessons learned that other state partners should find useful in their own work to advance work-based learning polices.

In Louisiana, the Louisiana Skills Policy Academy held a State Skills Policy Convening on June 7 in New Orleans. This day-long meeting consisted of a mix of presentations and discussions on state-level skills policy issues in Louisiana that drew on the expertise of NSC’s Louisiana partners, the Louisiana Budget Project, and peer learning with longstanding NSC partners from the Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative and the Moore Community House Women in Construction Program. The Louisiana Skills Policy Academy is an 18-month initiative aimed at educating job training organizations and other key stakeholders throughout Louisiana on key federal and state workforce development policies and advocacy strategies.

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies, Louisiana, Oklahoma
Job training is key to growing California’s economy and closing the state’s economic divide

California’s economy is booming, yet one out of every four residents lives in or near poverty. That’s why 40 California groups including colleges, unions, philanthropy, and organizations representing businesses and workers have joined with National Skills Coalition to call on California’s next Governor to adopt a workforce development agenda that would connect more people to good jobs. This shared agenda, Securing a strong economic future for all Californians asserts that a world-class workforce development system can support the economic aspirations of Californians while boosting the capacity of the state’s businesses.

The report explains that California’s diversity provides the state’s communities and businesses with a big advantage, but racial disparities in education, employment, and earnings keep California’s economy from reaching its full potential. It calls on the state to adopt policies that create more opportunities for all Californians, including people of color, immigrants, and low-income Californians, to thrive in the workforce and share in the state’s prosperity.

While the report recognizes that workforce development cannot be the only lever for economic mobility, it explains how a world-class workforce development system that helps more workers build in-demand skills and connect to good jobs can support economic opportunity. It lays out guiding principles for a world-class workforce development system to increase equity, opportunity, innovation, and economic growth in the state:

  • Focus on removing barriers to training and good jobs so that all workers can participate and thrive in the labor force.
  • Ensure that public investments in job training put all workers on pathways to good jobs, are aligned with labor market demand, engage businesses as employer partners, and work in tandem with other economic mobility policies.
  • Engage industry leaders to shape training programs and create stronger connections among businesses, workers, organized labor, and training providers.
  • Support upskilling for California’s frontline workers who want additional training to move into better-paying careers.
  • Use data to set and measure progress toward goals for creating a skilled, inclusive, and competitive workforce.
  • Prepare California for the current realities of the changing labor market and the future of work by creating new opportunities for low-wage workers and businesses in the changing economy.
  • Align workforce, education, human services, and corrections systems to move state policy to regional implementation.


The report is clear that California has made significant strides in building a better workforce development system, which policymakers can build on, and recommends nine innovative policy strategies that the state’s leaders can deploy to take it to the next level.  Click here to read the full policy agenda, including specific recommendations.

The work doesn’t end here. In 2019, NSC and its state partners will offer opportunities for California stakeholders to help transform this agenda into action. If you are a California organization interested in working together to secure a strong economic future for all Californians, please click here to learn more and get involved.

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies, California
Southern states must build a skilled workforce for a stronger economy

Southern states face a skills gap and must adapt to a new U.S. economy in which most jobs require training beyond high school, according to a new report from the National Skills Coalition and the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and St. Louis, Building a Skilled Workforce for a Stronger Southern Economy.

Most of the jobs in the South are middle-skill jobs, requiring education or training beyond high school but not a four-year college degree. However, across the South, there are not enough workers trained to fill middle-skill jobs.

This middle-skill gap, however, isn’t insurmountable. Southern states could step up to the challenge of educating more of the region’s adults to close this gap. Focusing on grade school students alone won’t be enough to close the skills gap now. If each and every one of the South’s graduating high school students were to stay in the region and train for open jobs that require postsecondary education, there would still be unfilled positions.

Moreover, if southern states are going to close their skill gaps, they must provide more opportunities for all adults – including people of color – to access high-quality  education and training. More than four in ten Southerners are people of color. A skilled and thriving southern economy must be an inclusive economy.

To help states realize economic improvement, this report includes a roadmap of critical steps states may take to establish policies that could help them close their skills gaps. State policymakers could:

  • Use workforce development strategies, such as sector partnerships and work-based learning, as economic development tools capable of meeting industry needs.
  • Invest in communities to implement high-quality workforce development strategies at the local level.
  • Establish job-driven financial aid programs that are available to a wide range of students.
  • Form middle-skill training pathways and include comprehensive supportive services that enable completion.
  • Create state data systems that provide accountability on how training programs are helping residents with diverse needs get skilled jobs.


State policymakers could consider also easing their path to implementation of these steps by taking the following actions, which could help unite a broad set of stakeholders around a common plan for skills development:

  • Set a bold goal for increasing the number of adults trained for skilled jobs.
  • Create a cross-agency “Skills Cabinet,” and task agency leaders with working together to develop and implement a strategy for meeting the state’s postsecondary attainment goal for adults.


In addition to the roadmap, this report also includes examples of current policy from southern states, proving that these policy changes may be implemented in the region’s unique context. Residents, businesses, and state economies are counting on their leaders to examine these policies and take the appropriate steps that will help them thrive now and in the future. In conjunction with the launch of this southern-focused report, National Skills Coalition is launching its Southern Skills Policy Initiative. Through this Initiative, National Skills Coalition will work with teams in five states –Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas – to advance policies that can build a skilled workforce.

Over the next year, National Skills Coalition will work intensively with partners in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee to put forward state policies that help workers and businesses in those states to get the skills they need to compete:

In Georgia, we will promote policies that prepare more residents for skilled jobs by making it easier for people with low incomes to afford postsecondary training. Partner organizations include Center for Working Families, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, Annie E. Casey Foundation Atlanta Civic Site, Atlanta Career Rise, and Metro Atlanta Chamber.

In North Carolina, we will conduct research and engage key stakeholders to build more equitable pathways and work-based learning opportunities for skilled careers for students and workers of color and other underserved populations. Initial partner organizations include North Carolina Justice Center, North Carolina Community College System, and Eastern Carolina Workforce Development Board.

In Tennessee,we will identify policies that address the non-academic and advising needs of working students so they can succeed in postsecondary training, as well as opportunities to promote apprenticeship, work-based learning, and postsecondary training that responds to industry needs. . Partner organizations include Complete Tennessee and the Nashville Chamber of Commerce.

National Skills Coalition will also work with partners in Mississippi and Texas in 2018 to support in-state discussions on apprenticeship and work-based learning.

In Mississippi, we will discuss policies that help more parents build their skills while supporting their families by providing child care assistance to workers in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs. Partner organizations include Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative and Moore Community House Women in Construction Program.

In Texas, we will discuss policies that expand apprenticeship and work-based learning opportunities for both adults and young people. Initial partner organizations include Educate Texas, Austin Community College, and the United Ways of Texas.

Through the duration of the Southern Skills Policy Initiative, NSC will create opportunities for partners from each state to share lessons learned with each other and other community leaders in the region.

 

Posted In: State Initiatives and Academies, Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Texas
NSC announces Work-Based Learning Academy state teams

National Skills Coalition is pleased to announce the five state teams that have been selected to participate in our 2018-2019 Work-Based Learning Academy: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, and Washington. Through the Academy, state teams will advance state policies to expand work-based learning opportunities for low-income communities. Teams will work together with faculty advisors and participate in peer-to-peer learning.

Work-based learning helps workers build new skills while earning a paycheck. Through work-based learning models like apprenticeship, the skills that workers build can translate into higher wages and industry-recognized credentials. Work-based learning is an issue of increasing interest among state policy leaders, spurred by federal investment, attention to apprenticeship by the previous and current Presidential administrations, and state-level technical assistance projects. While some states have adopted policies to support apprenticeship, few have policies aimed at expanding work-based learning opportunities for low-income adults and out-of-school youth. Expanding work-based learning to these communities would allow low-wage workers to advance to good jobs and help employers train a skilled workforce.

Some state teams will work on state programs to support work-based learning intermediaries. Intermediaries can help employers establish apprenticeship and work-based learning programs; they also serve as the connection point between business, education and training programs, and workers to streamline services and increase capacity to serve more people. Other teams will focus on state polices to provide support services, like childcare, transportation, and career navigation, to help people succeed in work-based learning.

The selected five state teams are:

  • Connecticut 
    • Connecticut Business and Industry Association’s Education and Workforce Partnership
    • Connecticut Department of Labor
    • Capital Workforce Partners
    • Connecticut State Colleges and University System
    • Connecticut Technical Education and Career System

 

  • Illinois
    • Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership
    • Associated Builders and Contractors
    • Young Invincibles
    • Chicago Jobs Council
    • Harold Washington College

 

  • Indiana
    • Indiana Institute for Working Families
    • Indiana Department of Workforce Development
    • REAL Services Inc.
    • United Way of Howard County
    • Indiana Family and Social Services Administration

 

  • Oklahoma
    • Oklahoma Office of Workforce Development
    • Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy
    • Dell
    • Oklahoma City Black Chamber of Commerce
    • Oklahoma Association of Community Action Agencies

 

  • Washington
    • Washington State Department of Social and Health Services
    • Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
    • Construction Center of Excellence


Teams will be partnered with faculty advisors who are experienced in their field of interest. The Academy’s faculty advisors are:

  • Earl Buford, Partner4Work
  • Susan Crane, SkillUp Washington
  • Mark Kessenich, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership
  • Pat Steele, Central Iowa Works
  • Matt Williams, Mississippi Low-Income Child Care Initiative


The Work-Based Learning Academy will begin with a kick-off event in Milwaukee, WI on June 5-6, which will include a site visit at Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership. The Academy will run from June 2018 – June 2019. If you are interested in learning more about the Academy or NSC’s work on work-based learning in the states, please contact state network manager Rachel Hirsch at rachelh@nationalskillscoalition.org.

Posted In: Work-Based Learning, State Initiatives and Academies, Washington, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut