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2014 NGA Summer Meeting

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Nashville, Tennessee (July 10-13)
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Plenary Session Transcripts

Governors Attending

Gov. Robert Bentley, AL
Gov. Jan Brewer, AZ
Gov. John Hickenlooper, CO
Gov. Dan Malloy, CT
Gov. Jack Markell, DE
Gov. Pat Quinn, IL
Gov. Mike Pence, IN
Gov. Terry Branstad, IA
Gov. Steven Beshear, KY
Gov. Martin O'Malley, MD
Gov. Mark Dayton, MN
Gov. Phil Bryant, MS
Gov. Jay Nixon, MO
Gov. Steve Bullock, MT

Gov. Dave Heineman, NE
Gov. Brian Sandoval, NV
Gov. Chris Christie, NJ
Gov. Pat McCrory, NC
Gov. Jack Dalrymple, ND
Gov. Mary Fallin, OK
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla, PR
Gov. Lincoln Chafee, RI
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, SD
Gov. Bill Haslam, TN
Gov. Gary Herbert, UT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, VT
Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, WV
Gov. Scott Walker, WI


Session Guests

Opening Session – The State-Federal Partnership

  • Vice President of the United States Joe Biden

Special Session – America Works: Education and training for Tomorrow’s Jobs

  • Stephen Rohleder, group chief executive, North America, Accenture

Closing Session – The Future of Main Street

  • Hubert Joly, president and chief executive officer, Best Buy

Committee Guests

Economic Development and Commerce Committee – The State of U.S. Manufacturing: Growing Small & Medium-Sized Enterprises

  • Lisa Allen, president and CEO, Ziegenfelder Company, Inc.
  • Eric Cromwell, partner, Cromwell Schmisseur
  • Jim Hudson, chairman of the board, HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

Education and Workforce Committee – Pathway to Work: The Role of Education in Economic Development

  • Lamar Alexander, Senator, Tennessee
  • Lucia Folk, vice president for public affairs, Country Music Television
  • Presentations by Academies of Nashville Students

Health and Homeland Security Committee – Perspectives on the Future of Health Care

  • Andrew Dreyfus, president and chief executive officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
  • Tom Latkovic, director, McKinsey & Company
  • Bill Rutherford, chief financial officer and executive vice president, Hospital Corporation of America

Homeland Security and Public Safety – Putting Veterans on a Path to Career Success

  • Debi Durham, director, Iowa Economic Development Authority
  • Teresa Gerton, deputy assistant secretary for Policy, Veterans Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor
  • Jeff Harris, policy director, Office of the Governor, State of Missouri
  • Jonah Houts, vice president, Government Affairs, Express Scripts
  • Susan Kelly, director, Transition to Veterans Program Office, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Moon Passino, assistant vice president for human resources, Enterprise Holdings

Natural Resources Committee Modernizing the Electric Grid: Confronting Challenges and Identifying Solutions

  • Tony Clark, commissioner, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Donald F. Santa Jr., president and chief executive officer, Interstate Natural Gas Association of America

Points of Interest

The opening session began with National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin calling the 2014 Summer Meeting to order. Gov. Fallin gave an outline of the weekend's agenda and introduced delegation members. She also thanked Tennessee Gov. Haslam and his wife, Crissy, for hosting the meeting. Gov. Haslam welcomed everyone to Nashville and expressed his enthusiasm for hosting the meeting.

Gov. Fallin then recognized Atria, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever for 25 years of membership with the NGA's Corporate Fellows program. Hallmark Cards and Kaiser Permanente also were recognized for 20 years of service.

Next, Gov. Fallin thanked and bid farewell to seven outgoing governors. Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Virgin Islands Gov. John de Jongh, Jr. were not in attendance. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman and Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee received their awards onsite.

After a brief break, Gov. Fallin welcomed Vice President Joe Biden, who thanked governors for their leadership during a politically challenging time. Vice President Biden went on to discuss ways to grow the economy, including up-to-date infrastructure and building a highly skilled work force.

He gave governors credit for pushing Congress to come up with a long-term solution for the Highway Trust Fund and for their work and leadership in getting the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act passed.  

Vice President Biden also touched on Gov. Fallin's chair's initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow's Jobs, noting that by the end of the decade, more than 6 out of every 10 jobs will require some form of postsecondary education.

Following his remarks, Vice President Biden took questions from governors. Gov. Fallin asked him to elaborate on how the passage of the Workforce Investment Act will affect his current work on training programs in America. He stated that it will enhance it, that the legislation is the foundation, a good building block. NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper questioned if workforce programs were meeting the needs of businesses. Vice President Biden spoke about the challenges of connecting the right parties. Kentucky Gov. Steven Beshear wanted the Vice President to expand on apprenticeship programs. Vice President Biden talked about changing high school curricula so that some of the courses meet a requirement in the community college system so students are fast-tracked. Finally, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval asked about improving and aligning K-12 education and higher education so that students have pathways to career opportunities. He spoke about changing the public attitude and marrying up the interests of high schools, community colleges and four-year colleges.

Gov. Fallin released her initiative's final report, An Action Guide for Governors, during Saturday's special session. Gov. Fallin's yearlong initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow's Jobs, focused on making significant improvements to education systems and workforce training programs and aligning those systems with the needs of business and labor markets. An Action Guide for Governors describes four key policy components, laying out key elements within each component that governors can use to bring about improvements, providing examples from states that illustrate best practices and offering guiding questions for state policymakers to help set priorities.

Governors also heard from Stephen J. Rohleder, Accenture North American group chief executive, at the special session, who discussed workforce challenges. Rohleder specifically talked about talent and workforce development. He touched on the trends of population, participation and productivity and described how Accenture faced evolving challenges. Finally, he identified four strategies that governors can deploy now to win the battle for talent: analytics, pipeline, pathways and focus.

Rohleder then fielded questions from governors. Gov. Fallin wanted to know how to get information from employers about the types of skills they need. Rohleder stated that companies should be willing to share that information and if they aren't, they are probably already on the path to moving their business elsewhere. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon wanted to know more about wage rates and compensation. Rohleder tied wage determination to skills that are needed and in demand. In conclusion, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker noted three groups who had not previously been mentioned: military personnel, people with disabilities and people on government assistance.  

At the end of the session, West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin gave remarks about the upcoming 2015 NGA Summer Meeting, which will be held at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.

Best Buy President Hubert Joly joined governors to talk about the Future of Main Street during Sunday's closing session. He talked about how e-commerce is transforming the retail industry throughout the United States. Joly discussed how focusing on advice, service and convenience helped Best Buy fight back after a difficult period. He stated that the key drivers in transforming a company are to focus on the customer, build an amazing customer experience and leverage the retailer's unique assets. Joly concluded by thanking governors for their leadership on the issue of Marketplace Fairness.

Gov. Fallin reflected on her time as NGA Chair and thanked everyone for their support. Next, Gov. Tomblin announced the NGA Executive Committee, including new NGA Chair Gov.  Hickenlooper and Vice Chair Gov. Herbert. Gov. Fallin welcomed Gov.  Hickenlooper, who proceeded to discuss his 2014-2015 Chair's initiative, Delivering Results. This initiative aims to make state government work in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible through innovative management and hiring practices, new and emerging technologies, governmental process improvement and appropriate regulation.

Across the country, governors are taking advantage of innovations in policy, management, technology, analysis and personnel practices that businesses, universities and others already have applied. Those strategies include recruiting and retaining the best and brightest employees, making government leaner through the use of modern management practices and new technologies and using data to agilely improve programs and policies to determine which deliver results.

Delivering Results specifically will focus on changing recruitment and retention processes to ensure that the “who” of state government remain the best and the brightest, the “how” of delivering services to people includes adopting lean processes and using new technologies and the “what” of policies and programs better use research to inform policymakers about what works.

Gov. Hickenlooper then adjourned the meeting.