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July Newsletter | Join Us in Baltimore: 2023 Skills in the States Forum Announcement

Updated: Mar 14

Save The Date: 2023 Skills in the States Forum

NSC’s annual Skills in the States Forum will take place in Baltimore, Maryland on November 16-17, with a SkillSPAN pre-meeting on November 15. This event is dedicated to exploring state policy and advocacy strategies, showcasing best practices and examples, and providing a space for partners to connect with peers and other stakeholders from their state in NSC’s network.

Registration opens on Monday, July 24th, with an early bird rate of $250. Partners who paid to attend our Skills Summit earlier this year are not required to pay a fee if they register by September 8th. NSC will offer a limited number of scholarships to partners to help offset the costs of attendance. The scholarship application will be available on our website next Monday once registration opens.

Workforce News and Insights

States Have Put Almost $4B Into Short-Term Credentials (Work Shift): A first-ever analysis from HCM Strategists provides new insights on the momentum of short-term credentials as a skills training strategy in states. Findings include:

  • 28 states have invested in 59 different short-term credential initiatives with a focus on their ability to boost employment and local economies. 11 of these initiatives used federal pandemic relief funds to quickly upskill unemployed workers.

  • 23 state-led initiatives include some equity component, with a majority targeting low-income populations. However, beyond basic income-restrictions for programs, the research found that states haven’t done much to ensure funding serves communities with the greatest need. One example that has stood out is Connecticut’s CareerConneCT Portal, which is being developed in partnership by the state and several entities including Connecticut SkillSPAN co-lead, Capital Workforce Partners. CareerConneCT provides free training for high-demand careers specifically targeting populations that are underrepresented in the overall workforce, including Black and Indigenous residents, people with disabilities, opportunity youth, and women.

  • 5 states have added short-term credentials to their state’s funding formula. This includes recent reforms to community college financing in Texas (supported by Texas SkillSPAN and BLU), which revised funding allocations to be measured against specific outcomes of student success.

NSC Resources

Template Comments on Digital Skills Data: The National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) is preparing to conduct an Internet Use Survey and has issued a Request for Comment to the field. NSC is excited about this survey and its opportunity for powerful advocacy around digital equity, however, we are concerned that it doesn’t capture enough data on digital skills. Our template provides a short set of comments recommending that NTIA add additional questions to their survey to ensure a broader scope of information is captured to help address barriers to digital skill building. We encourage SkillSPAN leads and partners to submit comments to NTIA and include the language provided in our template. The deadline for submission is August 1. NSC staff are available to answer any questions or provide additional information.

Federal Updates and Connection

Biden’s Invest in America Agenda: The Biden administration recently unveiled its economic platform centered on mobilizing historic levels of private sector investments in the United States, bringing manufacturing back to America, and creating new, good-paying jobs, including union jobs and jobs that don’t require a college degree. To advance this agenda, the Administration has designated five ‘Workforce Hubs’ where the government will partner with state and local officials, employers, unions, community colleges, high schools, and other stakeholders to ensure a diverse and skilled workforce that meets labor demands driven by federal investments. The five Hubs are Phoenix, AZ; Columbus, OH; Baltimore, MD; Augusta, GA; and Pittsburgh, PA. NSC will work to elevate the voices and efforts of our partners in these cities with the Administration. Please reach out if you are interested in participating or want more information.

Connect with Partners Through CHIPS Teaming List: NSC partners can now add themselves to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s teaming partner list, which help CHIPS Act funding applicants connect with other stakeholders in their communities who are ineligible to apply on their own. (Only entities able to finance, construct, or expand semiconductor facilities can apply for a CHIPS incentive award.) The teaming list will help facilitate collaboration between applicants and workforce partners, training providers, and community-based organizations to enhance applications and ensure strong project outcomes. This opportunity reflects advocacy from NSC and our partners for more robust tools and investments to connect workforce partners with applying entities to support collaboration that expands good jobs in infrastructure, manufacturing, and energy.

Updates on WIOA and Pell: While informal rumblings are taking place in the House, the Senate is currently not interested in taking up WIOA reauthorization and is instead choosing to focus on other workforce issues such as apprenticeship, including a youth apprenticeship bipartisan bill from Senators Murkowski (R-AK) and Baldwin (D-WI). The Senate is expected to introduce the PELL Act soon, which has already been introduced in the House. This is the Republican version of the bipartisan JOBS Act for federal support of short-term, high quality training programs. NSC will continue to keep our network informed of changes.

NSC Responds to Dept. of Transportation RFI: In June, the Department of Transportation issued a Request for Information seeking feedback on its Equity Action Plan, which outlines efforts in the areas of wealth creation, power of community, interventions, and expanding access to better serve underrepresented communities. NSC submitted comments in response applauding the aims of the agency and elevating policies that center racial and gender equity in infrastructure fields. NSC highlighted the work of key partners in the field that are supporting access to good jobs for women and people of color and recommended the Department track and report on programs to inform decision making and better understand outcomes (a priority reflected in our federal legislative agenda).

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