2014 CSG National Conference

Ask Bruce Atchison, director of the Early Childhood Institute at the Education Commission of the States, if college- and career-readiness begins in preschool and he answers with a resounding yes.

Executive function and self-regulation—the ability to hold onto and work with information—are key components of workforce readiness, Atchison said.

When Susan O’Malley was in junior high school, she wrote a paper about what she wanted to do when she grew up—be president of an NBA franchise.

While her teacher gave her high marks for the paper, she told O’Malley it was an unrealistic goal for a young girl.

O’Malley was the first woman to serve as president of a professional sports franchise when, in 1991, she was picked to lead the Washington Bullets. She left the NBA Board of Governors meeting in May wondering how she would turn around what she called “a mess of a franchise.”

So she turned to the lessons of leadership she learned at home, the same lessons she shared with the attendees at Sunday’s luncheon session, “Seven Leadership and Life Lessons.” She threw in an eighth rule for good measure.

The CSG West Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee discussed hemp production and regulation, one of the oldest industries on the planet but only permitted in the U.S. since 1999. Members also considered conservation of water as it relates to agriculture uses.

With the cost of college tuition rising and graduates facing a globally competitive marketplace, states must focus on delivering quality higher education at a price that doesn’t prevent access. This session explored ways to ensure high-quality higher education in Western states.

While debate about improving the nation’s health care system continues, policymakers, health care experts and consumers essentially agree on three goals—improving patient care, creating healthier communities and reducing health care costs. States face huge challenges in developing successful strategies for broad population impact, and even bigger challenges for having a positive impact in rural areas and among certain disadvantaged population groups. Speakers addressed strategies for improving population health, increasing immunization coverage, and providing data to guide state decision-making.