For nearly 40 years, South Dakota Rep. Fred Romkema has run a jobs training center for a segment of his state’s population that he says is too often forgotten. About 140 people with disabilities are currently served at the Northern Hills Training Center, and 108 of them are earning a regular paycheck.
“With the right supervision and training and supports, they can succeed in employment in the community,” Romkema says about his experience working with people with developmental disabilities.
And that job success, he adds, is good not only for the individual, but the community — and the state — where he or she lives.
“There is potential there that we are not tapping,” Romkema says of the state’s population with disabilities. “There is a cadre of potential employees who can certainly contribute in some of the jobs that are difficult to fill.”
Through a mix of legislation and actions taken by governors, new initiatives are being launched in states across the Midwest to remove workforce barriers and to help get more disabled individuals into the workforce.

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In an effort to develop alternate funding sources to implement critical transportation and infrastructure projects, states across the country increasingly are looking to public-private partnerships, known as P3s, as an important strategy. States in CSG's Southern Legislative Conference have been particularly active in pursuing the P3 format for a number of years. This webinar provides the latest perspectives and approaches from three SLC states—Florida, Texas and Virginia.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—While last winter was harsh and this one is expected to be similar, federal grants to states for heating assistance have dropped precipitously.

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Even as the recession abates, working family incomes often cannot cover family expenses and families are reaching out to food banks and community support systems to meet basic needs. These support systems also have struggled under economically stressful times and new creative approaches are needed.

In the fall of 2014, the attention of state leaders and their constituents was focused on the Ebola epidemic in Africa and how to prevent its spread to the United States. In the days since the first U.S. case was diagnosed in Texas, federal and state leaders have strived to implement evidence-based responses to the disease. This CSG eCademy features Christine Kosmos, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of State and Local Readiness, who explores lessons learned about Ebola and states’ responses, as well as state/federal role differentiation.