NSC talks skills policies with state legislators

By Brooke DeRenzis, October 07, 2015

This past month, NSC staff went on the road to help state legislators build their knowledge of skills policies. NSC participated in two October convenings aimed at increasing state legislators’ understanding of strategies for improving families’ economic outcomes. The Annie E. Casey Foundation was a convening partner at both events.

On October 1, Senior State Policy Analyst Brooke DeRenzis participated in National Conference of State Legislatures' (NCSL) Human Services Chairs Meeting in New Orleans.  There, Brooke gave a presentation on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) to legislators from over a dozen states. At the meeting, Brooke described how states can leverage investments in education and training for low-income people to expand skill-building opportunities for SNAP E&T participants. She also highlighted the opportunity for states to align SNAP E&T with other education and training programs through the WIOA state planning process.   

On October 23, Brooke was joined by Senior Policy Analyst Amanda Bergson-Shilcock at a Miami convening hosted by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund. NALEO’s Policy Institute on Economic Success for Working Families and Children brought together state legislators from across the country. In a morning session on “Why Skills Matter,” Brooke and Amanda briefed participants on the demand for middle-skill jobs, which require education and training beyond high school but not a four-year degree. They shared data on the skill needs of the U.S. workforce, including those of Latino workers, and explained that states can use job-driven training programs to prepare young people and adults for middle-skill jobs. In the afternoon, Brooke and Amanda participated in a panel on “Innovations and Promising Practices in State Policy" with Vickie Choitz of the Aspen Institute. During this discussion, Brooke and Amanda gave examples of states that have established policies to support sector partnerships and career pathways.

National Skills Coalition has developed several resources that state legislators and other state policymakers can use to inform skills policies in their states. A big thanks to NCSL, NALEO Educational Fund, and Annie E. Casey Foundation for giving us the opportunity to share our expertise!