Workforce Innovation Network
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped large segments of the U.S. economy, resulting in the rapid loss of 20 million jobs and the closure and bankruptcy of thousands of small businesses, while accelerating trends toward automation and remote work. Governors have worked to secure assistance for displaced workers and affected businesses, meanwhile building new frameworks and interventions to support a more equitable economic recovery. As Governors lead efforts to promote equitable and forward-looking economic recovery in their states and territories, the Workforce Innovation Network helps facilitate innovative state-level policy solutions that improve employment and workforce outcomes.
The Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN) is helping states build capacity for near-term innovation and longer-term strategy to prepare their workforces for a post-COVID-19 economy. NGA WIN serves as a non-partisan learning and action collaborative for state leaders who have demonstrated strong commitments to building a resilient workforce.
The Network is dedicated to:
- Expanding access to essential support services
- Rapidly connecting jobseekers to work
- Advancing digital access and skill development
- Enhancing job quality for all workers
With support from the Cognizant Foundation, Intel, Microsoft, Walmart, and Western Governors University, NGA is pleased to announce a second round of funding available from the Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN) and Workforce Innovation Fund. Launched in January with founding sponsorship from the Cognization Foundation, NGA WIN is dedicated to helping states respond to the impacts of COVID-19 on the labor market and improve employment and workforce outcomes.
For more information, questions, or requests, please contact Rachael Stephens.
Sign up for our mailing list
- Building a Durable Economy, One Worker at a Time
Governor Steve Sisolak
- National Governors Association Welcomes 6 States To 2nd Phase Of Workforce Innovation Network
- In Arizona, We’re Determined to Return Stronger with Skills for the Future
- National Governors Association Announces Second Phase Of Workforce Innovation Network
- How Maine is leveraging post-COVID economy to offer better job opportunities
- NGA Announces Expansion Of Workforce Innovation Network, New Collaborative To Support Governors And States
- Amid Difficulty, Missouri Finds Opportunity
by Governor Mike Parson
- Alabama And Hawaii Focus On Providing Job Opportunities In The Post-Pandemic Economy
by Governor Kay Ivey and Governor David Ige
- Defining Job Quality For Reemployment And Recovery
- 10 States Awarded Grants To Accelerate COVID-19 Workforce Recovery Efforts
- National Governors Association, Cognizant U.S. Foundation Launch Workforce Innovation Network To Support A Robust, Equitable Recovery
“North Dakota’s workforce shortage remains the No. 1 barrier to economic growth in our state, and joining the NGA’s Workforce Innovation Network will help us ensure that North Dakotans have the digital skills they need to enter the workforce, pursue education or seek training opportunities.”
"I am proud that Rhode Island is being nationally recognized for its forward-thinking solutions to driving business and getting Rhode Islanders back to work. This opportunity through NGA WIN will help keep our momentum going as we continue our economic recovery and train Rhode Islanders with the skills they need to secure better-paying jobs."
“I am committed to strengthening our state’s workforce and am proud to support the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission in this initiative. We have made intentional decisions over the last 19 months to help get Oklahomans back to work, adding countless jobs to the workforce and reducing our unemployment to one of the lowest in the nation. I look forward to making even more great strides in the future through this partnership."
“The pandemic is shining a bright light on the critical need for digital literacy. By joining the Workforce Innovation Network, we can help North Carolina employees gain the skills employers need them to have so people in the workforce are better paid and more effective for their companies."
“We have a strong team that includes diverse stakeholders with expertise to advance a coordinated strategic approach to digital equity throughout the state. This grant supports our shared vision of a diversified economy with a focus on digital access and equity.”
"We either strengthen workforce development or we risk falling behind. We must be bold and ambitious and break from the status quo."
- Spring 2021 Grantees - Coordinating Service Delivery for Jobseekers and Families
- Fall 2021 Grantees – Advancing Digital Skill Development
Round 1: Coordinating Service Delivery for Jobseekers and Families
From March – July 2021, 10 states adopted a unique design to improve coordinated service delivery for jobseekers, with a goal of improving workforce and employment outcomes. State grantees applied an innovation design framework to identify and close gaps in jobseeker service delivery and connect jobseekers to education, work, or training in alignment with state workforce and economic recovery goals. Themes explored include human-centered design, data governance and sharing, local workforce area capacity building, and workforce system rebranding and marketing.
Lessons Learned In Workforce Innovation: How Ten Governors are Redesigning Workforce Systems for Better Employment Outcomes
To help states build capacity for innovation and interventions across the workforce system to support a more equitable economic recovery, ten Governors were selected to join the inaugural cohort of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN). Each state carried out a unique initiative aligned with its Governor’s workforce and economic recovery goals. This brief includes case studies of state objectives, activities, and outcomes achieved during the grant period.
Round 2: Advancing Digital Skill Development for Equitable Economic Participation
State grantees will receive grant funding and technical assistance to advance digital skill development for equitable economic participation in alignment with state workforce and economic development goals. The NGA Center will engage staff and subject matter experts to provide targeted technical assistance to Hawaii, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island from November 2021 – June 2022.
Lessons Learned In Workforce Innovation: How Six States Are Planning To Advance Digital Skills For Equitable Economic Participation
To help states develop innovative, long-term plans to close digital skills gaps, meet employers’ talent needs and develop a workforce that is more resilient in the face of digital transformation, six Governors were selected to join the second cohort of the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN). Each state developed a strategic plan to increase digital skills attainment in alignment with their Governor’s workforce and economic development goals.
This brief includes lessons learned and case studies of state innovations achieved during the grant period and a framework for other states to develop their own plan to advance digital skills.
The Digital Equity Act (DEA), a provision within the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (Public Law 117–58), includes a historic federal investment to promote digital equity, literacy, and inclusion. In particular, the State Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program will award nearly $1.5 billion in federal funds to states to support the development and implementation of Digital Equity Plans to promote digital equity and digital skill development. Governors have authority to select the entity that administers these plans and may select one of many eligible entities to implement the host of new grant programs that, together, can help states close the digital divide through promoting access, affordability, and adoption of digital technologies. To assist states in closing digital skill gaps and preparing for digital equity planning, this brief offers key questions and resources for state leaders to consider.
Leveraging The Digital Equity Act To Advance Digital Skills: A Guide For Business Leaders To Partner With State Policymakers
Nearly one-third of workers in the United States lack digital skills, creating talent and growth issues for businesses of all sizes. The Digital Equity Act will deploy $2.75 billion to advance foundational and industry-specific digital skills. As state policymakers prepare plans to bridge the digital divide, employers can help them better understand the digital skills gap and collaborate on solutions. This guide, developed in partnership between UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices Workforce Innovation Network, offers three key strategies and accompanying guiding questions for employers to contribute to DEA planning and implementation.
Workforce Innovation Resource Hub
Resources from Workforce Innovation Network Advisors and Partners
Career Pathway Navigation and Supports
- Council for Adult and Experiential Learning – Activate Your Talent Mobility Strategy with Career Pathing
- Credential Engine – State Roadmap and Action Guide
- Digital US – Digital Navigators Playbook
- John J Heldrich Center for Workforce Development – New Jersey Career Network
- John J Heldrich Center for Workforce Development – New Start Career Network
- Markle Foundation – Unlocking Experience-Based Job Progressions for Millions of Workers
- U.S. Chamber Foundation – Talent Finance: A New Consensus and Return-to-Investment
- U.S. Chamber Foundation – Talent Pipeline Management Initiative
Job Quality and Economic Mobility
- Aspen Institute – Delivering Patient Care and Quality Jobs: Great Organizational Culture Drives Sunrise Treatment Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
- Aspen Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, National Fund for Workforce Solutions, National Skills Coalition – To Build Back Better, Job Quality Is the Key
- National Fund for Workforce Solutions – Designing a Good Job
- National Fund for Workforce Solutions – Job Quality Competencies: Guide for Workforce Development Practitioners
- NGA – Defining Job Quality for Reemployment and Recovery: State Action Planning Template
- Results for America – Economic Mobility Catalog
Workforce Equity and Inclusion
- Aspen Institute – Promoting Equity and Inclusion and Connection to Good Fit Jobs for Young Adults
- Council for Adult and Experiential Learning – Inclusive Development Network Proving Timely and Effective
- National Digital Inclusion Alliance – Defining A State Digital Equity Office: Recommendations for States as they Assume Digital Inclusion Work
- National Digital Inclusion Alliance – Digital Equity Scorecard
- National Fund for Workforce Solutions – Advancing Workforce Equity: A Guide for Stakeholders
- National Fund for Workforce Solutions – A Trauma-Informed Approach to Workforce
- NGA – Creating A More Equitable Workforce System: Opportunities For Governors And States
Labor and Education Data Systems
- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Dashboard for Alabamians to Visualize Income Determinations
- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta – Rework Community Insights Monitor
- New Jersey Education to Earnings Data System
- Research Improving People’s Lives – Initiatives
- U.S. Chamber Foundation – Jobs and Employment Data Exchange
- Western Governors University – Open Skills Network
Digital Access and Skill Development
Sample State and Local Digital Equity Plans
- Colorado – Digital Literacy and Inclusion Initiative
- Hawaii – Digital Literacy and Readiness Study
- North Carolina Digital Inclusion Template
- Forsyth County, NC – Digital Equity Plan
- Philadelphia, PA – Digital Equity Plan (Goal 3)
- San Francisco, CA – Digital Equity Playbook
Industry-specific Fact Sheets on Digital Skills
- National Skills Coalition – Digital Equity for an Inclusive Economic Recovery: Construction & Transportation
- National Skills Coalition – Health & Social Work Digital Skills Fact Sheet
- National Skills Coalition – Hospitality Industry Digital Skills Fact Sheet
- National Skills Coalition – Retail Industry Digital Skills Fact Sheet
Digital Skill Discussion Guides and Templates
Sample Digital Skill Frameworks
- JFF – Digital Resilience in American Workforce (DRAW) Initiative
- World Education – Digital Skills Library
Stakeholder Engagement Tools and Resources
- Aspen Institute – Digital Skills Discussion Guide
- Aspen Institute – Upskilling Resources for Employers
- Hawaii – Digital Skills for Workforce Website
Digital Equity Act (DEA) and Broadband, Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Program Resources
- NTIA – DEA State Planning Grant Program Details
- NTIA – A Guide for BEAD and NTIA
- NSC – Expanding Digital Inclusion via the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
Digital Equity Reports and Research
- EMSI Burning Glass – The Digital Edge: Middle-Skill Workers and Careers
- MPI – The Digital Divide Hits U.S. Immigrant Households Disproportionately during the COVID-19 Pandemic
- National Digital Inclusion Alliance – Digital Inclusion Trailblazers Infosheet
- National Skills Coalition – Applying a Racial Equity Lens to Digital Literacy
- NTIA – Barriers to Closing the Digital Divide, Achieving Digital Equity
Resource Libraries from WIN Network Members
Workforce Innovation Network Advisors and Partners
“As we continue to address the inequities stemming from COVID’s economic impact, Governors will play a critical role in deploying workforce strategies in communities across the country. We look forward to seeing this network evolve as states build, implement and share innovative workforce strategies that get people back to work and into family-sustaining wages.”Kristen Titus, Executive Director, Cognizant Foundation
State Roadmap For Workforce Recovery
In the Fall of 2020, the NGA Center hosted Creating an Agenda for Workforce Recovery, a four-part design workshop series 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. Content and conversations gathered from more than 100 state and industry leaders during this series have been compiled in the State Roadmap for Workforce Recovery. This roadmap offers a first-of-its-kind framework for organizing state workforce response and recovery activities to accomplish four critical objectives that can support a stronger and more equitable post-pandemic future:
- Expand access to essential support services
- Rapidly connect jobseekers to work
- Advance digital access and skill development
- Enhance job quality for all
For each of these four objectives, the roadmap organizes state planning activities and policy strategies across three essential phases of recovery: Respond, Restart, and Recover. Evidence already demonstrates that states will necessarily transition between these phases at different times and may propose varying definitions of these phases in their recovery plans. For this reason, this roadmap is not intended to specify a single or linear path. Instead, it offers a framework for addressing these four critical objectives in a way that will support a strong and equitable recovery.Learn More…