The Department of Labor has awarded $14,837,785 in grants to six states - California, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota and South Dakota - to improve employment opportunities for adults and youth with disabilities as part of the Disability Employment Initiative. The initiative awards grants to help increase the participation of adults and youth with disabilities in existing career pathway systems and other programs that bring together educational insitutions, the private sector and disability advocates. 

Hunger affects millions of children every year in the U.S. and is linked to greater rates of absenteeism and school disciplinary problems. Those behaviors are, in turn, associated with lower academic achievement and greatly increase the chance a child will drop out of school – which comes with a huge price tag for tax payers. 

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Over the past seven years, every state in the Midwest has established policies that aim to prevent bullying in the schools. But how detailed and far-reaching should these policies be? On that question, there is considerable variation among the states, especially in light of new laws now in place in Minnesota and IllinoiIn both of those states, the legislatures chose this year to significantly expand the role of states — and their local school districts — in bullying prevention and intervention.

The recent New York Times article entitled “Seeking New Start, Finding Steep Cost” portrays the Workforce Investment Act – recently reauthorized as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act – in a rather negative light, claiming that “many graduates wind up significantly worse off than when they started.” After extensive review of public records and interviews, the Times article presents a compelling case for greater accountability at the federal and state level for workforce training programs.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The UPS headquarters in Louisville, Ky., has found a way to attract good workers and connect those workers to higher education. UPS/Metropolitan College covers the cost of tuition, books and academic bonuses to employees who work in the UPS overnight air operation while they’re attending school. The company partners with the University of Louisville, one of the largest universities in Kentucky, and the Jefferson County Community and Technical College to offer the program, Nick D’Andrea, director of state government affairs for UPS, told attendees at the Aug. 13 session, “Linking Education, Workforce Development for More Competitive States,” during the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference.

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Earlier this year, Indiana became the first U.S. state to opt out of Common Core education standards, and the repeal movement continues to attract interest in other Midwestern states as well.
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Over the past two years, a big change has occurred in high schools across the state of Kansas. More and more students are getting a head start on their future careers and their postsecondary studies — by enrolling in and completing courses in career and technical education, or CTE. The rates of growth in the state are striking.

Alabama Rep. Mac Buttram thinks it’s about time people start thinking about career and technical education in a different way. Buttram recently was appointed to Gov. Robert Bentley’s new Alabama Workforce Council. The council, comprised primarily of state business leaders, is designed to help K-12 and higher education institutions in the state better meet the needs of businesses and industries. He was one of the featured speakers at CSG’s Policy Academy on Workforce Development, held Aug. 9 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference in Alaska.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—The future of the country’s economic success appears to be a team effort. “One of the most important keys to our national growth and economic success is supporting a highly trained workforce,” West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said at CSG’s Policy Academy on Workforce Development, held Aug. 9 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference in Alaska. “Education is the number one qualifier for jobs of today and tomorrow.”

States must make the connection between education and workforce development to compete in the global economy. Reducing the skills gap and providing an educated workforce are important not only to help individuals attain prosperity, but also to help states reach economic prosperity. This session explored how higher education initiatives—combined with effective state policy—will prepare America’s workforce to meet the needs of today’s employers.

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