National Skills Coalition is deepening its efforts to bring skills training opportunities to more people in the South by providing increased support to its three southern SkillSPAN partners. NSC’s SkillSPAN (Skills State Policy Advocacy Network) is the first-ever nationwide network of non-partisan coalitions working to advance state skills training policies. Coalitions from ten states joined SkillSPAN in 2019.
Coalitions led by Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, North Carolina Justice Center, and Complete Tennessee are among SkillSPAN’s inaugural coalitions and currently represent the network’s presence in the South. With generous support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, NSC will provide increased financial and technical assistance to strengthen the capacity of these coalitions. With this additional support, SkillSPAN leaders in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee will be able to bring new partners to the table to create policy changes that expand economic opportunity for workers and their families and advance racial equity in the workforce.
Each of these SkillSPAN leaders will build on work they’re doing as part of NSC’s Southern Skills Policy Initiative. NSC launched this initiative last June to help partners in Southern states put forward state policies to support skills training:
|Georgia Budget and Policy Institute is working to expand financial aid so that more people who face financial barriers to postsecondary training, including workers of color, can earn middle-skill credentials.|
|North Carolina Justice Center is working to develop better apprenticeship pathways for workers of color and other underrepresented workers.|
|Complete Tennessee is working to leverage federal and state programs to support more adults as they pursue postsecondary training that leads to a career.|
These policy changes are critical to building a stronger economy in these states and throughout the South. While most of the jobs in the South are middle-skill jobs, policymakers in Southern states have not created enough opportunities to help workers train for these jobs. In a recent report with the Federal Reserve Banks of Atlanta and St. Louis, we provided a skills policy roadmap for Southern states. We also underscored the need for a skilled and thriving economy to be an inclusive economy. With more than four in ten Southerners being people of color, education and training policies that advance racial equity in the workforce will make the South’s workers, businesses, and the economy better off. We’re excited to provide additional support to our SkillSPAN partners in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee to build a stronger Southern economy by creating more skills training opportunities for their state’s workers.