Creating an Agenda for Workforce Recovery: A Workshop Series for States

A four-part design workshop series for Governors’ advisors and state leaders to facilitate peer-learning, collaboration and the creation of a state agenda for workforce recovery.

The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) Workforce Development & Economic Policy program is hosting a four-part design workshop series for Governors’ advisors and state leaders to facilitate peer-learning, collaboration and the creation of a state agenda for workforce recovery. The series is designed to help states frame key challenges faced by their workforce, define short- and long-term recovery goals, and foster innovation and teamwork to improve workforce outcomes.

Each workshop in the series will invite state leaders to explore one of four essential components of a strong, equitable and sustainable recovery:

  • Expanding Access to Essential Support Services
  • Rapidly Connecting Jobseekers to Work
  • Advancing Digital Inclusion & Resilience
  • Enhancing Job Quality for All Workers

To explore these topics in greater detail, each 2-hour workshop will invite states to hear directly from Governors and subject matter experts about how other states are incorporating these topics into workforce and economic recovery plans. States will then participate in a design-thinking exercise to identify metrics that advance equity, develop short-term wins and embed principles including user-design, visioning, data, innovation and communication across each recovery topic. After the end of the workshop series, group responses will be compiled into a comprehensive state agenda for workforce recovery to be published this winter.

States are not required to participate in all workshops in the series and will benefit from participation in just one or a few, although there will be consistent themes throughout the series. States will be encouraged to bring up to three state representatives to each workshop, although all content will be created so that individuals can benefit if they attend alone.

Workshop Products

To encourage states to bring these planning practices back to their communities, at the end of each module, participants will receive:

  • Annotated workshop notes and video recordings of workshop panels
  • ✓ Self-facilitation guide for leading discussion/exploration and action planning around each topic in their own state
  • Relevant research products and tools produced by NGA Center staff, NGA Partners, and other organizations
  • ✓ 1:1 technical assistance from NGA Center staff for implementing these topics into state recovery planning
  • A crowdsourced, comprehensive state agenda for workforce recovery

Workshop Schedule

DateWorkshop Title
Thursday
November 12, 2020
1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Expanding Access to Essential Support Services
Thursday
November 19, 2020
1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Rapidly Connecting Jobseekers to Work
Thursday
December 3, 2020
1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Advancing Digital Inclusion & Resilience
Thursday
December 10, 2020
1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Enhancing Job Quality for All Workers
Please see below for workshop descriptions.

Workshop Registration

States are not required to participate in all workshops in this series and will benefit from participation in just one or a few. States will be encouraged to bring up to three state education, workforce or economic development representatives to each workshop, although all content will be created so that individuals can benefit if they attend alone. Please note that registration is open only to the above state executive branch representatives and will be closed 24 hours in advance of each workshop.

This event is open to Governors’ workforce and economic policy advisors, and representatives of the state workforce agency and state workforce board. If you have any questions about registration for this event, please email Shanelle Oliver (soliver@nga.org).

Workshop Descriptions

Expanding Access to Essential Support Services

Thursday, November 12, 2020 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

COVID-19 has reinforced the value of accessible health care, childcare, housing, food and transportation as essential elements of a healthy, sustainable workforce. Many states and communities have piloted new policies to support employees on the job that will have long-term impacts on workforce recovery. What are the greatest challenges that workers now face when re-entering the workforce or during longer terms of unemployment? How can states advance supportive services to promote workforce participation and support economic growth, especially for communities already underrepresented in the workforce? This workshop will address these questions, showcase state solutions and invite states to build on these innovations to advance employment outcomes across the workforce development system. More information about speakers will be announced at least 1 week prior to the workshop.


Rapidly Connecting Jobseekers to Work

Thursday, November 19, 2020 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

States are witnessing unprecedented levels of unemployment – meanwhile aiming to meet an acute need for highly-skilled employees across nearly every sector of the workforce. The expediency in which states have developed and implemented solutions to match dislocated workers to employment opportunities has furthered the potential to increase workforce system responsiveness, especially in a time of crisis. How can these early innovations help rapidly re-employ dislocated workers into in-demand industries during and post-COVID-19? How can states advance job matching, advising and training innovations as part of the reopening and recovery efforts to meet the evolving needs of employers? This workshop will address these questions, showcase state solutions and invite states to build on these innovations to advance employment outcomes across the workforce development system. More information about speakers will be announced at least 1 week prior to the workshop.


Advancing Digital Inclusion & Resilience

Thursday, December 3, 2020 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Evidence shows that automation is already accelerating across industries in response to the economic downturn – posing a growing threat to employees who lack the digital and technical skills to compete. To avoid major worker displacements, states will need to commit to advancing digital inclusion by closing the technological skills gap and investing in connectivity for all workers. What does digital inclusion and resilience look like in today’s economy? How can states develop solutions that help the economically disadvantaged, communities of color, older workers, rural residents, and those with disabilities gain access to 21st century skills? This workshop will address these questions, showcase state solutions and invite states to build on these innovations to advance employment outcomes across the workforce development system. More information about speakers will be announced at least 1 week prior to the workshop.


Enhancing Job Quality for All Workers

Thursday, December 10, 2020 | 1:00 – 3:00 PM ET

Employer policies and practices regarding worker safety, pay, benefits, training, and scheduling, shape the daily realities and long-term outcomes for workers—including an increasing number of workers in alternative work arrangements, such as gig or contract work. How do states define job quality in an era of unprecedented unemployment? How can lessons learned about “essential workers” inform state policy and practices to improve labor market outcomes across all industries? This workshop will address these questions, showcase state solutions and invite states to build on these innovations to advance employment outcomes across the workforce development system. More information about speakers will be announced at least 1 week prior to the workshop.


The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices is proud to offer this workshop series with generous support from the Cognizant U.S. Foundation. For questions regarding this workshop series, please contact Madelyn Rahn, Policy Analyst, Workforce Development & Economic Policy Program.