Skills-Driven State Community of Practice

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center), in partnership with Jobs for the Future (JFF), has launched a project to help Governors’ offices and other senior state officials better connect skills-based training to skills-based hiring practices and to consider promising design elements of Learning and Employment Record (LER) systems.

Named the Skills-Driven State Community of Practice, this peer learning opportunity will support states in preparing their employers, education and workforce systems, data systems and policies to design and implement digital wallet and LER projects as an equitable economic mobility tool.

States engaged are at varying stages of preparation to execute this work with the intention of moving forward in their efforts build and strengthen state/regional LER systems.


Governors and state leaders are concerned about the current labor shortage, occurring during a time when so many skilled workers are unemployed or underemployed. Skills-based approaches to hiring and recruiting can make pathways to good careers more broadly accessible to a wider segment of the workforce and reduce workforce inequities by focusing on what workers can do, not on the degrees or credentials they’ve earned. These approaches also provide learners and workers with multiple and diverse advancement pathways.

Technology plays a key role in allowing employers to embrace skills-based practices by enabling the adoption of IT systems that support digital learning and employment records (LERs), which are essentially digital resumes with secure, verifiable, and readily accessible records of people’s skills, educational experiences, and work histories.  By using LERs, jobseekers may be able to maintain and share detailed, verified, and secure records of their skills, educational experiences, and work histories in readily accessible digital files.  The standardized data language of LERs may also allow employers to uncover hidden talent that better matches their workforce needs. As a result states incorporating LER-friendly, skills-based practices may be able to further advance their economic development and workforce development goals.

Widespread adoption of skills-based practices and use of LERs depends on the development and implementation of interoperable, LER-friendly job seeker tools and talent engagement platforms, and IT systems such as applicant tracking systems.  At the same time, state, and local policies should be aligned with programs and community-based efforts that support individual workers and learners to adopt as they navigate various career and education pathways.

Participating States

  • Phase 1 Participating States
  • Phase 2 Participating States

Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming

National LER Advisory Council – Leadership Board

The NGA Center has convened a group of national partners to advise and assist with the curation of the curriculum for the community of practice. NGA Center staff, along with a faculty of subject matter experts and practitioners, will provide ongoing support through expert-led webinars, collaborative peer learning, and targeted technical assistance to participating state teams throughout the project. The members of the Leadership Board are:

Brookings Institution
Annelies Goger

Competency-Based Education Network
Amber Garrison Duncan

Credential Engine
Scott Cheney

Digital Promise
Christina Luke Luna

Jobs for the Future
Michael Collins

Markle Foundation
Kymberly Lavigne-Hinkley

Resources for Skills-Driven States

Resources from the Advisory Council Leadership Board
Microcredentials, certificates, digital badges, and learning pathways resources
Learning and Employment Record (LER) and Digital Wallet resources
EdTech Procurement Resources

NGA Contacts:

This project is made possible through support from Walmart