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The labor force participation rate has been on the decline for more than a decade and the rate of decline has increased since the Great Recession began in December 2007. The likelihood of someone not participating in the labor force, as well as the reason for not participating, often depends on a person’s age. Participation rates vary significantly across states and regions, with a range of nearly 20 percentage points between the lowest and highest states.

Governors continue to be in the forefront of governmental activity in the 21st century. They are in the middle of addressing the problems facing the country’s weak economy. The demands on governors to propose state budgets and keep them in balance have continued to increase greatly during the ongoing recession as severe revenue shortfalls have hit the states. This places severe limits on the states’ abilities to address the many growing needs of people and businesses trying to live through such tough times. The varying political viewpoints on what and how state government should work on this continuing set of problems only makes it harder for elected leaders to achieve agreements over policy needs and governmental responsibilities.
 
Career technical education is a vital part of education improvement efforts and will play a vital role in enhancing the nation’s economy by providing skills preparation aligned to current and future labor market demands. Career technical education provides a robust opportunity for meeting the labor and education demands of the global economy.
 
As state and territorial governments adapt to an ever-changing 21st century, executive and legislative branch officials are actualizing greater opportunity in the office of lieutenant governor. Leaders are tackling workforce, transportation and health care, and are working to provide new opportunities to small business on a global stage. Fully utilized, the office of lieutenant governor offers a high-ranking leader and ambassador providing a competitive edge unique to a state’s priorities. Four case studies demonstrate states focusing lieutenant governors on economic development among their other duties.
 
“We are what we learn,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has noted. If that message is true, what does it say that many of today’s children are learning essentially the same content in substantially the same way as their parents and grandparents? They are 21st century students who are still receiving a 20th century education.
 
With more and more people relying on smartphones and tablet computers to conduct their everyday business, mobility is rapidly becoming a must-have capability for state government agencies, including election offices. State efforts to transform and modernize voting through mobile technology took center stage during the 2012 presidential election cycle, with the introduction of new smartphone apps, tablet voting programs and emergency texting options for voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy. This article outlines some of the key state mobile initiatives for the 2012 election cycle, along with some potential options that may enhance the voting experience in the future.
 
Family caregivers are the backbone of our nation’s system of long-term services and supports for older adults and people with disabilities. The economic value of their contributions is estimated at $450 billion per year. It is critical that states support the efforts of these caregivers, to help them avoid burn out and protect their own health.
 
The Internet has transformed everything we do—from buying groceries to boarding an airplane—and has emerged as the engine of a new global economy. Its growth is fueled by a set of emerging technologies and business models that are challenging our ability to control how and with whom our personal information is shared, as well as changing our understanding of privacy. These developments in technology and enterprise have created new privacy risks for individuals and corporations. Attorneys general are seeking the best ways to manage those risks by investigating, educating and advocating for meaningful online protections and controls that protect our privacy while also protecting the growth of this new economy. The attorneys general also are tracking implementation of the national $25 billion mortgage
servicing settlement they reached last year to bring relief to homeowners.
 
The federal surface transportation bill known as MAP-21, which President Obama signed into law July 6, 2012, authorized programs and funding for two years. In addition to providing at least a modicum of greater certainty for state transportation agencies, the legislation incorporates important policy changes: consolidating and streamlining existing programs to give states added flexibility, including provisions designed to accelerate the delivery of projects, moving ahead with a performance-based approach to transportation investment and providing a boost to a popular credit assistance program that could help some states tackle expensive projects. State transportation officials from four states in different regions of the country say while many of these policy changes are welcome, much remains to be done to ensure MAP-21’s success and to ensure the next federal bill addresses the long-term future of the federal transportation program.
 
The nation’s state treasurers provide financial management and accountability for a wide variety of public funds. In many states, they also work to safeguard the financial interests of citizens through professional management of college savings plans, unclaimed property programs and professional debt management efforts.
 

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