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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: Louisiana, Oklahoma
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, Washington, Oklahoma, Indiana, Illinois, Connecticut
NSC highlights skills policies adopted in states’ 2015 legislative sessions

In 2015, numerous states enacted legislation to address the needs of workers and employers and close the middle-skill gap. As highlighted in NSC’s 2015 state legislative round-up, states increased access to career pathways and set policies to support job-driven training.  They also took steps to implement the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which became effective on July 1, 2015.

To hear more about the actions governors and state legislatures took in 2015 to close the skills gap, register for our 2015 State Policy Legislative Round-Up, hosted on July 28 at 2pm ET.

Career Pathways 

At least nine states enacted legislation to support career pathways policies. Career pathways combine education, training, career counseling and support services that align with industry skill needs so participants can earn secondary school diplomas or their equivalent, postsecondary credentials, and get middle-skill jobs. In 2015, Colorado and Minnesota adopted legislation that will increase investments in career pathway strategies in their states.

 Career pathways include adult basic education, typically offered concurrently with and in the same context as general workforce preparation and training for an occupation. In 2015, Arkansas, California, Georgia, and Ohio increased investments in adult basic education.

Tuition assistance is also critical to ensuring that career pathways lead to postsecondary credentials, particularly for part-time, working students. In 2015, Indiana, Nebraska, and Oregon all passed legislation that expands tuition assistance.

Job-Driven Training 

Job-driven training prepares workers for jobs available in the economy. In 2015, a handful of states passed legislation to advance job-driven training.

California, Colorado, and Washington enacted legislation to expand work-based learning in their states by making investments in apprenticeship programs, paid internships in key industries, and apprenticeship preparation and supportive services respectively.

Hawaii and Oklahoma both passed legislation establishing bodies to advise the state on healthcare workforce policy.

Arkansas and Maine passed legislation to support employer-driven training programs developed through partnerships between employers and educational institutions.

WIOA Implementation

In 2015, Arkansas and Louisiana were among states that enacted WIOA implementation legislation specifying the type of workforce plan the state should submit to the federal government under the new federal law. 

In 2015, California, Florida, and Virginia all enacted legislation that emphasizes skills strategies, such as sector partnerships and career pathways, as part of WIOA implementation.

Posted In: Job-Driven Investments, Career Pathways, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisiana, Virginia, Maine, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington, Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota, Georgia
National Governors Association's Chair Releases Education and Training Action Guide

At the close of her term as the National Governors Association 2013-2014 Chair, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released “An Action Guide for Governors” to increase workforce skills and strengthen state economies. The guide is a culmination of the NGA Chair’s year-long America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs initiative. The Action Guide promotes state policies that the National Skills Coalition agrees are critical to the success of workers, industries and the economy.

For one, the Action Guide calls on governors to integrate education and workforce data and to use that data to inform policy decisions and track progress toward goals. It shows how states such as Maryland and Kentucky are using longitudinal data to answer key policy questions. Longitudinal data systems help state leaders understand how individuals use different education and workforce training programs over time and in turn, how different programs work together to prepare residents for skilled jobs. The Action Guide also shows how states can use supply-and-demand reports and data dashboards to shape policies. At NSC, we believe that state policymakers need these data tools to better align education and workforce investments with employer skill needs. An analysis by the Workforce Data Quality Campaign provides more detail on the importance of NGA’s data recommendations.

The NGA Chair’s Action Guide also advises governors to support and scale partnerships between industry, educators and workforce programs. This recommendation aligns with our call for state policies that help create and maintain local sector partnerships. The Action Guide highlights several states that have fostered the growth of sector partnerships by designating a state entity that coordinates and assists high-quality partnerships.

In addition to its focus on data and sector partnerships, the NGA Chair’s Action Guide underscores the importance of a gubernatorial vision for education and training that reflects state labor market needs. Governor Fallin identifies a relevant workforce certification or postsecondary degree as the “new minimum” for reaching the middle class and beyond. The Action Guide also calls for governors to align existing resources and use performance funding to achieve the state’s integrated vision for education and training. This component mirrors NSC’s support for job-driven investments that prepare workers for in-demand middle-skill jobs.

“It’s gratifying to see such similarity between the NGA Chair’s report and NSC’s state policy agenda,” expressed Bryan Wilson, NSC State Policy Director.

Posted In: Job-Driven Investments, Sector Partnerships, Data and Credentials, Oklahoma

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