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December Newsletter | NSC Monthly Update: Recap of State Policy Convening & Published Resources

Recap 2023 Skills in the States Forum

Last month, NSC joined 350+ partners from across the country for our annual state policy convening. Thank you to our SkillSPAN leads and partners for joining and sharing your insights! The multi-day event featured discussions on infrastructure, equity, and good jobs, as well as ample networking opportunities for partners to connect with one another. Our latest blog recaps the event and shares highlights

In case you missed it, NSC also published tools, insights, and research mentioned throughout the event, including:

  • Resources from plenary and concurrent breakout sessions.

  • Resources from the People Powered Infrastructure convening, including a participant list.

We encourage all SkillSPAN leads to use Basecamp to continue conversations and share resources from the SkillSPAN pre-meeting and your coalition efforts.

NSC Resources

Comment Template for State Digital Equity Plans: SkillSPAN leads and partners can use language from NSC’s comment template to adapt their own comments to state broadband offices or similar agencies. These comments can be part of a State Digital Equity Planning process or submitted more informally if that deadline has passed; this spreadsheet outlines states’ comment processes in Column E. The NSC team is available to speak further about these comments and other opportunities for digital equity advocacy. And please feel free to share this template with your broader network!

SkillSPAN Leads Advancing Equitable State Skills Policies: A recent NSC blog showcased a sample of SkillSPAN coalition achievements from 2023, including:

  • Michigan SkillSPAN successfully lowering the age of eligibility for Michigan Reconnect, which offers tuition free certificate and degree programs at the state’s community and tribal colleges, from 25 years old to 21.

  • Indiana SkillSPAN working with state legislators to pass a new law enabling colleges to establish pilot campus navigator programs.

  • Massachusetts SkillSPAN introducing two bills aimed at expanding access to state workforce data and improve data systems infrastructure to better collect and disaggregate outcomes of individuals served by the state’s workforce system and advance racial equity priorities.

Workforce News and Insights

New York City’s Pre-Apprenticeship Programs Are a Lifeline for Underrepresented Workers (Capital and Main): Over the last decade, a patchwork of pre-apprenticeship programs for underrepresented women and workers of color have quietly transformed New York City’s infrastructure workforce. With the city poised to receive billions from the bipartisan infrastructure law, advocates see an unprecedented opportunity to build on efforts to expand an inclusive construction industry. This article explores how investments in NYC’s pre-apprenticeship programs will help transform and diversify the infrastructure sector.

New York City’s pre-apprenticeship priority aligns with NSC’s People Powered Infrastructure campaign, which includes a policy plank to expand access to skills training programs that provide women and people of color a meaningful pathway into high-quality trades jobs. More information on the ways states can leverage federal funds and state policies to support equitable pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs is available in NSC’s infrastructure playbook.

Federal Update

NSC Testifies Before Ways and Means: On Wednesday, October 25th, NSC Board Chair Dr. Girard Melancon testified on behalf of National Skills Coalition before the Ways and Means Committee on Educational Freedom and Opportunity for American Families, Students, and Workers. His testimony focused on the jobs that will be created by federal investments in infrastructure and the opportunity that job creation presents to create equitable pathways to good jobs through skills training. Dr. Melancon focused on support for industry and sector partnerships, rapid reskilling and upskilling for workers, and an intentional focus on equity, citing examples from our SkillSPAN network.

Reintroduction of the BUILDS Act and PARTNERS Act: Rep. Susan Bonamici (D-OR) recently led the reintroduction of two NSC priority bills in the House, both with bipartisan support. The BUILDS Act would provide grants to industry or sector partnerships that encourage industry growth and collaboration to improve worker training, retention, and advancement in target sectors. The bill includes funding for support services, such as childcare and transportation, to help workers with program retention and completion. The PARTNERS Act would create a grant program to support the creation and expansion of industry partnerships to help small and medium sized businesses develop work-based learning programs and provide support services to workers. NSC will continue to monitor activity related to these bills and share updates and advocacy opportunities with our network.

New Environmental and Climate Justice Climate Change Grants: The Environmental Protection Agency released a notice of funding opportunity for $2 billion in grants to fund community-driven projects that address climate change and pollution. The three-year grants are funded by the Inflation Reduction Act and emphasize the development of workforce development programs for climate career pathways that align with NSC’s People Powered Infrastructure campaign policy planks, including high-quality training models, sector partnerships, and equity strategies to recruit and train individuals from 3 populations that face greater barriers to employment. Eligible applicants are partnerships between CBOs and a tribal or local government or higher education institute. Other organizations and entities may participate through subawards or as contractors. As a reminder, SkillSPAN leads can find more information on this funding opportunity and others on Basecamp under the Infrastructure folder in the Resource Library.


The NSC offices will be closed December 25th through January 1st. We’ll be in touch by early next year with more information on the SkillSPAN renewal process. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday! We look forward to working with you all in 2024.

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