2017-02-26 National Governors Association

Job Training and Higher Education

Feb 26, 2017

3.1 Preamble

Job training and higher education are at the center of governors’ economic development agenda. Growing small businesses, expanding existing industries and attracting new companies all depend on the qualifications of a state’s workforce.

The state-federal partnership on job training and higher education has been critical to ensure that all Americans, including low-income and middle-class families, are equipped to compete in the high-demand economy. Federal job training and higher education programs should focus on meeting the needs of a high-demand workforce– providing governors opportunities to train citizens for 21st century careers while providing businesses with a qualified workforce. Federal policy should support state efforts to increase affordability, accountability and innovation and align education, workforce and economic development initiatives.

3.2 Principles

3.2.1 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

  • Consult governors – the leaders of each state’s workforce and talent development system – throughout the development and administration of federal workforce and job training programs.
  • Preserve the governors’ 15 percent reserve for statewide activities to ensure a flexible stream of funding for workforce innovation and to maximize state flexibility, ensuring innovation across states.
  • Include all states and territories as eligible recipients for federal job training programs.
  • Allow flexible use of federal funds for work-based learning opportunities.
  • Grant gubernatorial discretion to enact specific policy guidance and corrective actions to ensure local partners operate high-quality workforce systems.
  • Maintain governors’ flexibility to transfer federal funding between programs and eliminate eligibility requirements that restrict alignment and integration of workforce development programs.
  • Support statewide and regional workforce system efforts to increase efficiencies, reduce administrative costs and ultimately increase training for more workers.
  • Maintain governors’ authority to appoint State Workforce Investment Board members and direct the work of the State Board.
  • Ensure state-created common performance measures are preserved to ensure alignment across federally funded workforce programs and streamline state data collection and reporting requirements.
  • Provide flexibility and support for states to develop and maintain workforce data systems while aligning and integrating them with early childhood, K-12 and higher education data systems – the whole of the talent pipeline development system.

3.2.2 Higher Education

  • Build on state-led efforts to hold institutions accountable by creating a framework for high-quality programs based on state-centric solutions that:
    • create outcomes-based institutional expectations for attainment, employment and student success;
    • complement state performance-based institutional investments;
    • incentivize access, tuition reduction and support at institutions for low- and middle-income students; and
    • remove federal barriers to transparent, longitudinal data reporting by institutions on basic measures of success that provide a clear picture of their performance.
  • Prohibit state maintenance of effort requirements for higher education that could ultimately discourage state investments and necessitate blanket investments that reward low-performing institutional programs.
  • Streamline and coordinate regulations across federally funded programs to promote accountability, transparency and efficiency.
  • Refrain from prescribing or mandating the use of specific metrics, measures or data collection by states to hold teacher preparation programs accountable.

3.2.3 Cross-Cutting Pathways to Work

  • Increase student flexibility to utilize federal higher education grants and student loans to complete high- quality job training and work-based learning programs.
  • Support and incentivize state-, local- and industry-led partnerships to create and scale work-based learning and apprenticeship programs.
  • Strengthen connections between education, job training and work participation in Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and federal welfare policy.
  • Align and consolidate federal support staff and technical assistance for community colleges at the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor.
  • Ensure that federal law recognizes the central role that community colleges play in economic development by elevating community colleges in federal policy.
  • Support state and local efforts to expand access to higher education for low- and middle-income students.
  • Identify reforms to the federal tax code and the regulatory structure to reward higher education completion, expand work-based learning and incentivize alternative forms of higher education financing at the state, institution and family level, such as individual savings accounts and social impact bonds.

Time limited (effective Winter Meeting 2017 – Winter Meeting 2019).
Adopted Winter Meeting 2017.

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