Workforce Development

While occupations in the science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—fields may not make up a huge portion of total jobs, those positions are growing quickly. STEM jobs are a bigger part of the workforce in some states or localities than in others. In addition, not all STEM positions are created equal. Wages for STEM positions can depend heavily on which industry they are in or where they are located.

While occupations in the science, technology, engineering and math—or STEM—fields may not make up a huge portion of total jobs, those positions are growing quickly. STEM jobs are a bigger part of the workforce in some states or localities than in others. In addition, not all STEM positions are created equal. Wages for STEM positions can depend heavily on which industry they are in or where they are located.

On July 18, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education addressing new strategies in postsecondary education as part of The Council of State Governments' Southern Legislative Conference's Annual Meeting held in Savannah, Georgia.

The combination of states reducing spending on postsecondary education and rising tuition costs has led to a shift in economic burden from the states and institutions to students. As a result, a growing number of students are pursuing degree programs that yield higher annual salaries following graduation.

On July 27, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education addressing new strategies in postsecondary education as part of the CSG West Annual Meeting held in Vail, Colorado. 

On July 27, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education addressing new strategies in postsecondary education as part of the CSG West Annual Meeting held in Vail, Colorado.

Many education officials are turning to the business community to spark conversation about regional hiring needs, deficits in worker skills and the training necessary to allow for family-sustaining wages and for continued industry growth.

Rural communities in the South continue to face serious challenges in getting highly educated students to return home after college graduation. Research indicates that education may be a cause and effect for this rural “brain drain” phenomenon, and also the key to reversing the trend. Studies have shown that efforts to improve rural education contribute to rapid economic development in those areas, while a more educated community can serve as a catalyst for business expansion and increased civic engagement. This complimentary webinar, presented by CSG South/SLC, highlights the impact of education on rural development and examines initiatives in rural communities to entice educated former residents to return and invest in their hometowns.

Navigating the array of credentials in the U.S. can be tricky. Employers sometimes find themselves trying to compare degrees, certificates, industry certifications and other credentials among job candidates without an apples-to-apples guideline. “We’re looking for a way to make that more understandable, a way to interconnect them,” said Larry Good, chairman, co-founder and senior policy fellow of the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce, a nonprofit organization that partners with governments, businesses and community leaders to help connect workers to education and good jobs. Good was one of three presenters in a recent CSG eCademy webcast, “Using Stackable Credentials to Increase Job Earnings.” He said credentials should be transferable, transparent, useful and easily understood by students, workers and employers.

A 2014 report by the National Skills Coalition said middle-skill jobs—those that require more than a high school diploma, but less than a four-year degree—account for 54 percent of the United States’ labor market, but only 44 percent of the country’s workers are qualified for these types of positions. One way the skills gap—the gap between skills that employers seek and the skills available in the workforce—can be decreased is to use stackable credentials to improve worker capabilities and competencies. This FREE eCademy webcast, presented by the CSG National Task Force on Workforce Development and Education, highlights innovative programs that are helping students gain the competencies they need by offering stackable credentials and credits for talent development.

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