The Current State

States and businesses continue to recover from the Great Recession, and they are doing so in an environment shaped by two historic shifts related to economic and workforce development. The first is the return of manufacturing jobs to the United States and the second is new technological requirements of these jobs. While job opportunities continue to grow, today’s factories require greater levels of technical knowledge from employees. But with these new jobs come new challenges in the form of preparing a workforce equipped with the skills and competencies required for a rapidly evolving workplace—filling the critical skills gap among today’s workers as well as students preparing to enter the future workforce.

On Sept. 2-8, a CSG-sponsored delegation of state leaders visited China to discuss regional policy issues and learn about bilateral relations. Over the course of the six-day trip, the delegation met with Chinese officials from the provincial, city and local levels in Beijing, Jinan and Shanghai. Additionally, the delegation met with Chinese nonprofit leaders to discuss cultural and social exchange programs and participated in an international convening of sister cities.

During The Council of State Governments' eCademy webcast, "Building the Grid of the Future: How Technology Can Help," panelists discussed the aging electric grid, how new technologies can help meet energy reliability and affordability objectives, and how policymakers can help ensure the grid continues to meet consumer demands.

States are increasingly turning to community paramedicine to help fill the gap in the health care workforce. States have been experimenting with community paramedicine programs for the last five years or more. Expanding the role of licensed or certified emergency medical technicians—or EMTs—and paramedics to provide non-emergency preventive health care services directly to patients in their communities can be cost-effective and make up for health care work force shortages. 

This year, some university and college students in Pennsylvania will be permitted to serve as substitute teachers in the state’s public school districts, vocational-technical schools and intermediate units under a new law that becomes effective Sept. 12. The legislation signed by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in July is an attempt to increase the number of substitute teachers in a state with a longtime shortage. The problem, however, is not unique to Pennsylvania. School administrators across the country struggle to find temporary stand-ins for teachers, and the law that allows college students to take the reins is just one example of several diverse solutions being reviewed and implemented by the states.

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