Workforce Development

By 2018, the U.S. will need 22 million new college degrees; the nation will fall short of that number by at least 3 million postsecondary degrees. This means not only lost wages for workers, but also lost job creation for state economies. This workshop addressed opportunities for state policymakers to impact higher education funding, align pathways leading to employment and develop strategies for meeting the demands for a skilled workforce.

Stateline Midwest ~ December 2012

Under a new set of recommendations in Ohio, half of the state’s funding for higher-education institutions would be based on how well they contribute to a key economic goal: boosting the number of college graduates in the workforce.

In late November, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a state panel released a higher-education finance framework designed to give greater weight to degree completion in determining funding for the state’s public colleges and universities.

President Barack Obama on Sept. 8 addressed a joint session of Congress to roll out the American Jobs Act. In the wake of a still stagnant recovery, the bill includes a combination of tax breaks and new spending designed to give the economy a booster shot and hopefully put more people back to work.  If passed by Congress, the bill would provide more than $35 billion to state and local governments to retain or rehire teachers and public safety officials. The tax measures used to pay for the bill, however, may ultimately come back to bite the very state and local governments it is designed to support.

President Obama’s 155-page jobs proposal landed on Capitol Hill this week and both parties are rallying their troops for a partisan fight.  Prospects for adoption remain low and support among state leaders will likely divide along party lines.  However, the bill does contain $30 billion in state fiscal relief, in the form of the Teacher Stabilization Fund, which if enacted would have a direct impact on state budget decisions throughout the country.

Leaders of the nation’s largest state and local associations were summoned to the White House this morning to hear a preview of the President’s forthcoming jobs address from Danielle Gray, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, and Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.  While the administration is trying to keep a close hold on details in advance of the speech, it is clear that the President will propose both a continuation of existing programs and new initiatives across three major policy areas: taxes, infrastructure, and unemployment assistance.

One of the first sentences in a recently enacted Kansas law explains the rationale for the state’s new, targeted investment in higher education: “Engineering intensive industries represent approximately one-third of the statewide payroll and tax base.”

The Midwest, once the national leader of the industrial economy, is now floundering in the knowledge- and innovation-driven global economy. The way back to economic vitality and growth, says James Duderstadt in a report for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, will require changes in another traditional strength of the region: “our extraordinary array of colleges and universities.”


Three things are critical to a state if policymakers want to attract bioscience companies—a supportive and creative venture capital system, a stable tax structure and a strong education system from kindergarten through college. That was the opinion of the experts speaking during the “Encouraging American Innovation and Competing in a Global Economy—Health Care” session at The Council of State Governments’ Growth and Prosperity Virtual Summit of the States.

The age of a business may be more telling than its size in the business’s ability to create jobs. That’s according to Dane Stangler, director of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in Kansas City, Mo., using information from the U.S. Census Bureau, who spoke during The Council of State Governments’ Growth and Prosperity Virtual Summit of the States session, “A Culture of Entrepreneurship.”

Early learning, K-12 education and postsecondary education all combine to create competent graduates ready for 21st century jobs.  Highly-skilled workers lead to prosperity for states in the new economy.  Institutions can't wait until high school to begin preparing students for the future, whether it be technical school, college or straight into a career.

State policymakers play a critical role through funding strategies and policy decisions in developing a competent work force.  Join us on Wednesday, April 13 at 1:00 p.m...