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New fact sheets: Immigrants can help meet demand for middle-skill workers in Arizona, California

Today, National Skills Coalition is releasing two new fact sheets highlighting the potential for immigrant workers to fill middle-skill gaps in Arizona and California.

More than half (53 percent) of jobs in Arizona are middle-skill, but only 47 percent of Arizona workers are trained to that level. Investing in workers’ skill-building can help them obtain middle-skill credentials, earn family sustaining-wages, and meet local employer needs.

But while Arizona has a goal for bachelor’s degree attainment among state residents, the state has not set a goal for postsecondary attainment more broadly. Setting such a goal would help to focus state investment in adult education, English language acquisition, and other postsecondary programs.

Creating a postsecondary goal would have notable implications for the state’s 920,000 immigrants, who comprise 1 in 7 Arizona residents overall. Immigrants already play an essential role in Arizona’s labor market; a full 79 percent of immigrants are of working age (compared to 57 percent of native-born Arizonans) and immigrants have a higher labor-force participation rate.

However, immigrant workers also have lower educational attainment on average. In order for Arizona to capitalize on the full talents and abilities of immigrant residents, the state will need to facilitate their skill building. Learn more about the potential policy opportunities in our Arizona fact sheet.

California faces a similarly robust demand for middle-skill workers. A full 50 percent of jobs in the state are middle-skill, while only 40 percent of workers are trained to that level.

The state has recently set an ambitious goal of producing 1 million middle-skill, industry-valued and recognized postsecondary credentials by 2027. In order to accomplish this goal, California will need to further strengthen its investments in immigrant workers. Learn more about the current landscape and future policy opportunities in our California fact sheet.

Find out more about investing in immigrant workers’ skills, and see other publications and resources, on NSC’s immigration page

Posted In: Immigration, Adult Basic Education, Arizona, California

AZ Wage Record Bill Passes with WDQC help

  ·   By Jenna Leventoff,
AZ Wage Record Bill Passes with WDQC help

On May 19, Arizona Governor, Doug Ducey, signed AZ HB 2666 into law, due in part to WDQC’s assistance.

The legislation allows the Governor’s Economic Opportunity Office (GEOO) to fulfill requests for unemployment insurance data from specified entities to support evaluation of the state’s workforce and education programs, as well as to develop labor market information. Entities eligible to receive the data include the Arizona Department of Economic Security (AZDES), the Department of Education (ADE), universities, and community colleges. Requesting entities must prove that they can keep the data confidential, must have security safeguards in place, and cannot disclose information that might identify individuals or their employers.

WDQC worked with the state to develop and advance this bill. In addition to providing guidance on how to structure the bill’s data sharing provisions, WDQC stepped in when the bill’s progress was stalled over concerns that its provisions weren’t permissible under federal law. WDQC staff worked with staff at the U.S. Department of Labor to determine how the legislation could comply with federal rules. Moving forward, WDQC plans to facilitate peer learning between Arizona and other states that have successfully implemented state data systems.

"We are excited that Arizona will develop a data system that helps us understand whether workers in our state are getting the skills they need for successful careers," said Gretchen Corey, who works on special projects at the Arizona Department of Administration. "WDQC provided crucial assistance that helped us pass this important legislation."

The bill will take effect in August 2016.

Posted In: Arizona, Workforce Data Quality Campaign
10 states to participate in “SNAP to Skills” technical assistance project

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that 10 states have been selected to receive in-depth technical assistance as part of a new U.S. Department of Agriculture “SNAP to Skills” project. The selected states include Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.

The effort, led by the Seattle Jobs Initiative, will help these states design job-driven Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T). States will participate in the project through September 2017. 

Over the past several years, National Skills Coalition has partnered with Seattle Jobs Initiative to promote skills-based SNAP E&T programs in the states. By combining education, training, and support services, SNAP E&T programs can expand opportunities for low-income people to move into family-supporting jobs.

With support from partners like the Annie E. Casey and W.K. Kellogg foundations, NSC has worked with SJI to share best practices and recommendations based on Washington State’s skills-based SNAP E&T programs. Together, we’ve produced numerous publications and webinars, hosted a meeting for 11 states interested in skills-based SNAP E&T, and provided technical assistance to four states looking to expand SNAP E&T partnerships with community colleges and community-based organizations. We’re now working together to identify opportunities for aligning SNAP E&T with broader state workforce development efforts under the new Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The SNAP to Skills Project is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s effort to help SNAP E&T programs become more job-driven. In December 2015, the agency’s Undersecretary for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon issued an official communication to state SNAP agencies promoting practices that help participants build the skills required by today’s job market.

NSC will continue to provide resources to partners in the field on how SNAP E&T programs can expand opportunities for low-income people to enhance their skills, credentials, careers, and ultimately, their families’ financial well-being. 

Posted In: SNAP Employment and Training, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee

On October 9, the Obama Administration announced $20 million in awards under the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, a multiagency effort to support regional industry cluster initiatives that strengthen advanced manufacturing at the local level. The grants were awarded to 10 public-private partnerships made up of small and large business, colleges, nonprofits, and local stakeholders.  

Grants were awarded to clusters in Arizona, California, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington.  It is estimated that the grantees will train as many as 1,000 workers, and will help nearly 650 companies leverage regional resources to create jobs nationwide. 

The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a partnership between the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Department of Energy, the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the National Science Foundation.   Eight other federal agencies will provide technical assistance to grantees.  

This is the third round of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, an initiative designed by the interagency Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters (TARIC).

Posted In: Sector Partnerships, Arizona, California, Michigan, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Washington