Skills on the Campaign Trail in the States

August 22, 2014

In November, 36 states will host gubernatorial elections. The contests range from open, competitive races to incumbents vying for additional terms. National Skills Coalition members are working hard to assess how investing in workers and industries fit into the candidates’ larger education and economic development proposals for their states.

For instance, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians in Philadelphia welcomed candidate Tom Wolfe to see firsthand how the organization connects immigrants with education, training and other supports necessary for achieving economic security. In Massachusetts, SkillWorks, Workforce Solutions Group, Boston Opportunity Youth Collaborative and many other partners held a forum at Roxbury Community College, giving all the candidates in the state’s open race an opportunity to discuss their workforce developments plans.

During the last election wave of governorships, NSC collaborated with many of its affiliated state campaigns and coalitions on similar candidate outreach activities. NSC Leadership Council member Bill Rayl of Jackson Area Manufacturers Association and other partnering organizations of the Skills2Compete Michigan campaign held editorial board meetings and developed a joint policy statement for the transition team of Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder. The efforts in Michigan and many other states laid important groundwork for the state legislation sessions. Several newly elected governors called for substantial investments in skills and state legislatures responded by passing their proposals.

To build on this track record of impactful education strategies, NSC has developed a toolkit for engaging gubernatorial candidates full of strategies and tools that cover everything from preparing for meetings with candidates to writing op-eds. NSC is also bringing state advocates together for periodic cross-state sharing and peer learning during the election season.

If you are working on something in your state and would like to participate in this group, please let us know.

Photo Credit: SkillWorks