Labor and Employment

Following on the heels of an active December that saw Congress avoid a government shutdown, extend tax breaks for Americans and pass education reform, there is hope that President Obama and Congress will carry this unexpected span of bipartisanship into 2016. Although impossible to know with certainty which issues will be tackled, criminal justice reform could be on the list.  

Public pensions continue to be one of the biggest fiscal challenges confronting state and local governments. Even before the onset of the Great Recession, many state and local government plans were struggling to meet their pension and retirement health care obligations. While the run-up in the equity markets in recent years might have alleviated some of the fiscal pressures faced by public sector pension plans, there continue to be major challenges ahead on this front. This webinar from the Southern Legislative Conference provides an overview of the latest state pension trends alongside presentations from two SLC states on the specific measures initiated to bolster the funding positions of their plans.

CSG Director of Fiscal and Economic Development Policy Jennifer Burnett outlines the top five issues for 2016, including strategic decisions following modest revenue growth, workforce development, public pensions, federal instability, and health care costs. 

Top 5 Issues in Workforce Development

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Implementation

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, also known as WIOA, became effective on July 1, 2015. However, the act includes several provisions that become effective on other dates. On March 1, 2016, governors must submit a Unified or Combined State Plan pertaining to workforce...

CSG Director of Education Policy Elizabeth Whitehouse outlines the top five issues in workforce development policy for 2016, including Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation, employment issues for people with criminal records, engaging people with disabilities in the workforce, veterans' employment issues, and career pathways for students.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch work with the States to promote the quality of life for all men and women of the armed forces and improve state-federal coordination in the provision of and greater access to programs, services, and benefits that support veterans’ employment, education, job training, health, and housing needs.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, The Council of State Governments requests that the Congress and the Executive Branch pursue educational policies that promote and ensure state flexibility and a healthy state-federal partnership in the vital task of educating America’s children and growing our economy

Struggling from years of insufficient contributions, combined with longer-living retiree populations, many states face mounting public pension liabilities without sufficient assets to cover them. But states aren’t sitting idly by. Public pension reform has been a major topic of conversation in statehouses across the country, and was the focus of the CSG Public Pensions and Retirement Security policy academy Dec. 10.

While some states have not yet resolved their public pension problems, Keith Brainard of the National Association of State Retirement Administrators said that the pension outlook for most states is improving—in part due to recent pension reforms.

In an increasingly complex global economy, few issues are more critical to states and the private sector than workforce development. To facilitate discussion on workforce needs and strategies, CSG has planned a special policy round table event as part of the 2015 CSG National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The session, "State Pathways to Prosperity—Workforce and Economic Development Round Table," will convene at the Mars Petcare Global Innovation Center in Thompson's Station on the morning of Friday, Dec. 11.

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Hello, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself.  I am excited to serve as CSG’s Director of Education and Workforce Development.  I hope to be a resource from cradle to career, covering emerging issues and trends for states as well as providing opportunities to talk about policy solutions.

I plan on using this blog to highlight the work of states exceling at meeting the education and workforce needs...

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