State Strategies for Skills and Lifelong Learning Systems

This online gathering engaged state policymakers, philanthropy, business leaders, and higher education institutions in a unique cross-sector conversation on the future of state systems of lifelong learning.

On October 27-28, 2021 state, education, and business leaders and other experts gathered for a conversation on a wide variety of skills-based and credential-focused topics including COVID-19 recovery, emergent technologies, and best practices for reaching underserved communities.


Day 1


The Skills Revolution

This session explores why creating a skill-based economy matters, including the connection between workforce-infrastructure and other state priorities.


  • Scott Pulsipher (WGU)
  • Gayatri Agnew (
  • Stephanie Marken (Gallup)
  • Chris Lowrey (Ivy Tech)

Mapping the Ecosystem

This session explores the intersection between workforce development and other strategies/priorities that states grapple with.


  • Maurice Jones (OneTen)
  • Deb Everhart (Credential Engine)
  • Kathleen deLaski (Education Design Lab)
  • Alex Kaplan (IBM)
  • Boris Kun (US Department of Defense)

The Indiana Achievement Wallet

This session introduces the Indiana Achievement Wallet, a technology tool for workforce development.


  • Marni Baker Stein (WGU)
  • Darin Hobbs (WGU)
  • Kacey Thorne (WGU)
  • Rick Torres (National Student Clearing House)
  • Kymberly Lavigne-Hinckley (Markle Foundation)
  • Alex Kaplan (IBM)
  • Kris Deckard (Goodwill Indiana)

Day 2

Keynote Address

Mark Plunkett, Vice President of Custom Training, Education Solutions and Business Development at CompTIA Tech Career Academy, provides the day 2 keynote address.

Peer Learning

This session allows state leaders to learn directly from their peers on how workforce technologies have been adopted in other states.


  • Nick Moore (Alabama)
  • Aaron Fichtner (New Jersey)
  • PJ McGrew (Indiana)

Technical Assistance:

This session focuses on highlighting best practices from our nonprofit and private partners to help states implement workforce technologies and close the skills gap.


  • Emilie Rafal (Credential Engine)
  • Darin Hobbs (WGU)
  • Kacey Thorne (WGU)
  • Jason Tyszko (U.S Chamber of Commerce)
  • Kathleen deLaski (Education Design Lab)
  • Ricardo Torres (National Student Clearing House)
  • Karen R. Elzey (Workcred)