NGA, Strada Education Network to Assist States in Aligning Postsecondary Education With Workforce Needs

From top left: NGA Economic Opportunity Director Martin Simon speaks with Strada Education Network CEO William D. “Bill” Hansen; Strada Executive Vice President Carol D’Amico and Mushtaq Gunja, vice president and chief of staff at the American Council on Education, speak on a workforce panel; NGA Senior Policy Analyst Mike Bartlett, D’Amico, Gunga and Kim Hunter Reed, Louisiana Commissioner of Higher Education, participate in a panel discussion; and NGA Program Director Amanda Winters addresses the audience.

Six States to Receive Grants, Technical Assistance to Harness Data to Realize Future Workforce Goals

To help states align postsecondary and workforce priorities for adult learners, the National Governors Association and Strada Education Network will award grants and technical assistance to up to six states and territories to support a data-driven approach to anticipating and meeting future workforce needs.

NGA Solutions: The Center for Best Practices and Strada kicked off the solicitation for proposals from states and territories with a forum in Washington last week that included a discussion among experts in postsecondary education, including representatives of the American Council on Education and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.

Forty-two states have set ambitious postsecondary attainment goals, but national data shows that fewer than half of adults — 47.6 percent — from ages 25-64 have earned a credential beyond high school. These adults will be a necessary source of talent for states to reach their goals and to prepare a workforce to meet the needs of employers. State and institutional strategies to engage, or re-engage, adults should be fueled by the examination of meaningful data and a willingness to re-think approaches to meet the diverse needs of these learners.

During the discussion on state strategies to ensure that postsecondary education meets future workforce needs, Bill Hansen, Strada Education Network president and CEO, called on state leaders, higher education and employers to act.

“Be bold and think creatively,” said Hansen. “Every state is different, and there is no one solution to solving the 7 million unfilled jobs in our country.”

Proposals from states and territories are due Friday, Aug. 2. The six selected states and territories will receive access to Strada-Gallup Consumer Insights survey data detailing the consumer experience in higher education in their states. They will receive ongoing technical assistance from NGA Solutions experts and consultants tailored to their needs and priorities, as well as initial grants of up to $100,000 per state to support planning activities, meetings, summits, publications, tools and travel expenses. They also will have an opportunity to receive an additional $50,000 to support innovative program and policy development.

Funding for the project, which runs from Sept. 1, 2019 through March 1, 2021, is being provided by the Strada Education Network, a national nonprofit dedicated to improving lives by catalyzing more direct and promising pathways between education and employment.