Future Workforce Now State Policy Forum for Action

Oct. 16-18 | Chicago, IL

States were invited to assemble teams to convene in Chicago, IL for the Future Workforce Now: State Policy Forum for Action from Wednesday, Oct. 16, through Friday, Oct. 18. We welcomed participants to explore and build on the Future Workforce Now policy framework that has been created and develop policy solutions they can take back to their states. At the Forum, states:

  • identified the major challenges posed by technological disruptions for new and incumbent workers in their state;
  • assessed existing state policies and practices in place to respond to the technological challenges and their impacts on work, workers and workplaces; 
  • identified key barriers and actionable policy change to address near-and long-term systems change for workforce development, education, and supportive programs; and
  • committed to action steps to prepare and support a diverse and adaptable workforce engaged in lifelong learning leading to meaningful and sustainable employment.

Agenda | BiographiesState Team Discussion Guide

Wednesday, October 16

Introduction: Future Workforce Now Partners & Policy Framework 

Keynote: Creating Innovators 

  • Tony Wagner, Senior Research Fellow, Learning Policy Institute and Author: The Global Achievement Gap & Creating Innovators

Governors’ Leadership in Reimagining Workforce Policy in the Age of Disruption


  • Zachary Wolf, Senior Writer, CNN


  • James Rzepkowski, Assistant Secretary, Maryland Department of Labor 
  • McCall Flynn, Education Policy Advisor, Office of the Governor of Montana
  • Alicia Kielmovitch, Chief of Staff of Governor’s Workforce Cabinet, Office of the Governor of Indiana
  • Kai Feder, Chief of Staff, New Jersey Office of Innovation

Thursday, October 17

Plenary Session: Building Inclusive Systems and Infrastructure to Support Continuous Lifelong Learning 


  • Van Ton-Quinlivan, Executive Vice Chancellor Emeritus, California Community Colleges


  • Naria Santa Lucia, Senior Director of Digital Skills and Employability, Microsoft Philanthropies
  • Scott Cheney, Executive Director, Credential Engine 
  • Zainab Okolo, Strategy Officer for Competency Based Learning, Lumina Foundation
  • Natalie Evans Harris, Co-Founder & Head of Strategic Initiatives, BrightHive

Breakout Sessions: Building Inclusive Systems and Infrastructure to Support Continuous Lifelong Learning 

Plenary Session: Developing an Agile, Tech-Ready Workforce that Stays Ahead of the Curve


  • Sarah Jane “SJ” Maxted, Deputy Director for MIT’s Task Force on the Work of the Future, MIT


  • Erika Webb-Hughes, Director of Public Affairs for the Western United States, Pearson
  • Harouna Ba, Director of SciPlay, New York Hall of Science
  • Juan Salgado, Chancellor, City of Chicago Community College System & Advisory Board Member, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future
  • Spencer Stewart, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Western Governors University

Breakout Sessions:  Developing an Agile, Tech-Ready Workforce that Stays Ahead of the Curve

Friday, October 18

Plenary Session: Supporting Individual Engagement in Lifelong Learning & High-Quality Employment

A panel of experts will discuss ways to ensure that individuals have access to time, information about education and training programs, as well as financing and wrap-around supports they need to succeed in a rapidly changing labor market. The discussion will focus on effective methods that states, community, and business leaders can take to address common barriers for individual workers who are at risk of becoming underskilled. 


  • Marc Doussard, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


  • Beth Cobert, CEO, Skillful at the Markle Foundation
  • Matt Dunne, Founder and Executive Director, Center on Rural Innovation
  • Zach Neumann, Senior Project Manager, Lifelong Learning, The Aspen Institute Future of Work Initiative 
  • Michael Monroe, Chief of Staff, North America’s Building Trades Unions

Breakout  Sessions: Supporting Individual  Engagement in Lifelong Learning & High-Quality Employment