National Governors Association’s Chair Releases Education and Training Action Guide

By Brooke DeRenzis, July 22, 2014

At the close of her term as the National Governors Association 2013-2014 Chair, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin released “An Action Guide for Governors” to increase workforce skills and strengthen state economies. The guide is a culmination of the NGA Chair’s year-long America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs initiative. The Action Guide promotes state policies that the National Skills Coalition agrees are critical to the success of workers, industries and the economy.

For one, the Action Guide calls on governors to integrate education and workforce data and to use that data to inform policy decisions and track progress toward goals. It shows how states such as Maryland and Kentucky are using longitudinal data to answer key policy questions. Longitudinal data systems help state leaders understand how individuals use different education and workforce training programs over time and in turn, how different programs work together to prepare residents for skilled jobs. The Action Guide also shows how states can use supply-and-demand reports and data dashboards to shape policies. At NSC, we believe that state policymakers need these data tools to better align education and workforce investments with employer skill needs. An analysis by the Workforce Data Quality Campaign provides more detail on the importance of NGA’s data recommendations.

The NGA Chair’s Action Guide also advises governors to support and scale partnerships between industry, educators and workforce programs. This recommendation aligns with our call for state policies that help create and maintain local sector partnerships. The Action Guide highlights several states that have fostered the growth of sector partnerships by designating a state entity that coordinates and assists high-quality partnerships.

In addition to its focus on data and sector partnerships, the NGA Chair’s Action Guide underscores the importance of a gubernatorial vision for education and training that reflects state labor market needs. Governor Fallin identifies a relevant workforce certification or postsecondary degree as the “new minimum” for reaching the middle class and beyond. The Action Guide also calls for governors to align existing resources and use performance funding to achieve the state’s integrated vision for education and training. This component mirrors NSC’s support for job-driven investments that prepare workers for in-demand middle-skill jobs.

“It’s gratifying to see such similarity between the NGA Chair’s report and NSC’s state policy agenda,” expressed Bryan Wilson, NSC State Policy Director.