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2019 Skills Summit

This was a big year for the Skills Summit, NSC’s annual fly-in event open to skills advocates from across the country. The event included two days of federal skills policy updates from experts in the field, a rundown of the Skills for Good Jobs Agenda, a menu of policy recommendations developed by workforce practitioners on the ground, and culminated in the year’s largest advocacy day ever for skills policy on Capitol Hill. Photos of the event can be found here.

Forward-looking content

Ninety-three percent of likely voters support more investment in skills and technical training, according to brand new public opinion research conducted for NSC just one week before the Summit. The poll also showed broad support for each of the policies outlined in our 2019 Skills for Good Jobs Agenda. These compelling topline findings inspired one of our most dynamic plenaries – a conversation about what voters want to hear from presidential candidates about skills, education, and our economy. The conversation about this new data was moderated by Adam Harris from The Atlantic and included perspectives from the Progressive Policy Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, ALG Research, and NSC Chief of Staff Rachel Unruh. 

NSC CEO Andy Van Kleunen facilitated a conversation on the future of work and the uneven prospects facing different workers. This conversation was the first in a series of discussions on the future of work and included national leaders from the AARP, AFL-CIO, and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

You watch both of these plenaries on our Youtube page and sign up for more information about our Future of Work Series here.

NSC’s Workforce Data Quality Campaign (WDQC), hosted a set of conversations at the Skills Summit so as to seamlessly integrate data issues into the higher education and workforce policy and advocacy conversation, and to bring data producers together with data users. This included an invitation-only WDQC preconference, where state data experts discussed issues of importance in data communities, such as methods of identifying credentials of value, measuring skills gaps, and national sources of wage and employment data.

Bipartisanship today

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-D) and Rep. Glenn Thompson (PA-R) talk about their support for skills.

Members of Congress showed their support for skills throughout the event. Representatives Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) took the stage on February 6th to talk about their bipartisan efforts on skills policy and why it works. Together, they led the recent Perkins Act reauthorization which was signed into law at the end of 2018. The two federal legislators plan to continue to reach across the aisle this year on a bipartisan reauthorization plan for the Higher Education Act.

The PARTNERS Act was re-introduced the same day. It’s a bill that would support partnerships between businesses and other workforce stakeholders to enable small and medium sized employers to develop and expand (and allow workers to succeed in) apprenticeships and work-based learning programs. This is a priority in NSC’s Skills for Good Jobs Agenda. NSC held an apprenticeship briefing on Capitol Hill on the last day of the Skills Summit which featured a number of members of Congress who came to share their support for the bill – including Senator Baldwin (D-WI), Representatives Bonamici (D-OR), Guthrie (R-KY), and Davis (D-CA).

The biggest Summit ever!

Nearly 500 advocates from 38 states joined us at this year’s Skills Summit. Among those 316 folks joined NSC at the Summit for the first time. This tremendous attendance and enthusiasm at the Skills Summit reflects the growth of our coalition. NSC is inspired by the growth of our dynamic coalition and looks forward to working with new partners as we work to advance skills policy at the state and national level.

Recognition and thanks

Each year, NSC recognizes members of the Coalition that have gone the extra mile to use their time and talent to move the needle on skills policy.

Skills Champion: Girard Melancon, Baton Rouge Community College

The Skills Champion award is annually given to a Coalition member whose exceptional organizing and advocacy efforts have moved the skills agenda forward in Washington, D.C. over the past year. This member embodies the Coalition’s mission to seek an America that grows its economy by investing in its people, so that every worker and every industry has the skills to compete and prosper.

Data Driver: Kate Akers, Kentucky Center for Statistics

The data driver award is given to the state data expert who best enhances the collection and use of data to drive policy in their home state, and across the country.

Taking Care of Business: Breezy Straton, Douglas County Economic Development Authority

This award recognizes a member of the Coalition for their outstanding efforts in mobilizing business partners to advocate for improved federal skills policy.

This convening wouldn’t be possible without our sponsors, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Siemens Foundation, and Walmart, to which we’d like to extend sincere thanks.

See you next year!

Join us next year on February 3-5, 2020 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC!