Workforce Innovation Network Summer Update

Welcome to the NGA Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN) Quarterly Newsletter! This newsletter, prepared by the NGA Center for Best Practices, provides state workforce leaders, NGA WIN Advisors and Partners, and external parties, with updates about the Workforce Innovation Network, an initiative of the Workforce Development and Economic Policy Program. For more information about this newsletter, please contact Katie Nichols

Last month, NGA WIN hosted its inaugural in-person convening, the NGA Broadband, Workforce Innovation and Digital Equity Summit in New Orleans, Louisiana. We brought together nearly 150 Governors’ state broadband, digital equity, workforce, education, health and other agency leaders and advisors to advance their state vision to advance digital access and skill development. With federal officials from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Commerce, we discussed challenges, shared resources and identified opportunities for ongoing collaboration across states and nationally. Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN) presented on their work to date developing plans to close digital skill gaps, including strategies to engage new stakeholders, analyze emerging trends in local labor market data, and fill gaps in local talent pipelines. To learn more about the Summit, visit our latest commentary here.

With founding support from the Cognizant Foundation, and additional support from Intel, Microsoft, Walmart, and Western Governors University, the second NGA WIN grant period will soon come to a close in July. Since November, six state grantees – Hawai’i, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island – have been busy developing and implementing action plans to advance digital access and skill development. Later this year, NGA WIN will publish the findings of state plans to close digital skill gaps alongside a new set of policy recommendations for Governors – offering states and municipalities a new cohort of leadership to follow.

To further support states in advancing digital access and skill development, NGA WIN has launched a new Digital Access and Skill Development section on the Workforce Innovation Resource Hub on its homepage. This collection of resources made available by NGA WIN Sponsors and Advisors will remain publicly available on our website and will be publicized to Governors and states throughout our programming. Within the Hub, you will find new resources on: Career Pathway Navigation and Supports, Job Quality and Economic Mobility, Workforce Equity and Inclusion, Labor and Education Data Systems, and Digital Access and Skill Development. We encourage you to visit this new library and reach out to our team about opportunities to support implementation of these tools.

NGA WIN partnered with Advisor UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute to help prepare employers to engage in leveraging Digital Equity Act (DEA) investments to advance in-demand digital skills. This latest guide offers three key strategies and guiding questions for employers to contribute to DEA planning and implementation, as well as strategies for state policymakers to support and collaborate with employers:

  • Study Your Skill Needs
  • Tell Your Story
  • Sustain Your Engagement

Network News

NGA WIN Grant Report: A Prosperous Nevada (DFI Consulting):

Nevada was the recipient of a National Governors Association Workforce Innovation Network (WIN) grant to put together a cross-agency team and engage outside counsel to analyze the economic impact of COVID-19 and the state’s current efforts to build a strong workforce for its current and future economy. Through analysis of data and countless discussions and interviews with state and local leaders across Nevada, this report provides a picture of the challenges and opportunities the state faces as it responds to a changing economy and becomes better prepared for better times as well as the next downturn.

Commentary: Governors Implement: Broadband, Workforce Innovation And Digital Equity (National Governors Association):

From June 15-17, Governors’ broadband advisors and workforce development leaders will met in New Orleans for an in-person summit and workshop on using Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment (BEAD) Action Plans and Digital Equity Plans under the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) to advance broadband access and digital skills in America’s workforce. ​This update focuses on NGA’s work to support Governors as they focus on building capacity for workforce system innovation and developing policy solutions that yield tangible improvements in employment and workforce outcomes.

DLIR News Release: State Makes Searching for Job Easier (Office of Governor David Ige):

On June 15, the Hawaii Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced the launch of the Hawaiʻi Career Acceleration Navigator (HI CAN), a digital hub connecting unemployment insurance (UI) claimants and jobseekers to high-impact career pathways. This week, DLIR will release a new functionality that allows UI claimants to fulfil and digitally track their work search requirement through HI CAN. HI CAN will also help those eligible for additional social services efficiently connect to the programs they need for a successful career transition.

Gov. Wolf Highlights Workforce Training Initiatives, Calls for New Investments in Pennsylvania Workers, Businesses, Communities (Office of Governor Tom Wolf):

On June 7, the Wolf Administration joined the Harrisburg Regional Chamber & CREDC to give an address highlighting Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s commitment to workforce and economic development and new opportunities to make major investments in Pennsylvania families, businesses and communities. The Wolf Administration has invested $116 million in science, computer science and technical education, including $80 million in the innovative PAsmart program, and $36 million in apprenticeships and workforce training.

Network Advisor Spotlight

The NGA WIN Advisory Network consists of stakeholders who support Network goals by advising and supporting NGA WIN state grantees, Governors, states, and NGA staff. Advisory members advise NGA on the development and delivery of programming and technical assistance to states as well as collaborate to identify opportunities for shared program delivery, coordinated technical assistance, new initiatives, resource development and more. This quarter we are especially grateful to two partners, Business Roundtable and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers (CEOs) of America’s leading companies, promotes a thriving U.S. economy and expanded opportunities for all Americans through sound public policies. Member companies annually employ 20 million people, and their CEOs take seriously the responsibility of creating quality jobs with good wages. As a result, Business Roundtable advocates policies centered on job creation, improving U.S. competitiveness, and strengthening the economy.

As an Advisory Member of NGA WIN, Business Roundtable advises NGA and state grantees on working with employers to improve job quality to recruit and retain a skilled workforce and foster economic mobility.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, educates the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future. The U.S. Chamber Foundation houses four Centers of Excellence, including the Center for Education and Workforce, Corporate Citizenship Center, Emerging Issues, and Hiring our Heroes.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation’s workforce portfolio advances solutions that (1) close the partnership gap with employers; (2) modernize our education and workforce data; (3) and promote innovative financing to make education, training, and credentialing more affordable, with less debt, and with better outcomes. As an Advisory Member of NGA WIN, the U.S. Chamber Foundation advises NGA and state grantees on opportunities to engage business leaders in developing innovative solutions to improve workforce outcomes that support a strong, inclusive economy.

The Workforce Innovation Network is generously supported by its Founding Sponsor, the Cognizant Foundation, and is grateful to have additional sponsorship from IntelMicrosoftWalmart, and Western Governors University.