Aligning jobs with workers who possess the skills to succeed is a challenge that calls for solutions from K-12 and postsecondary systems and employers. Dec. 10 during the CSG 2015 National Conference in Nashville, Tenn. The policy academy will look at ways to create career pathways and develop innovative postsecondary programs to help students prepare for success in the high-demand jobs industry is filling today

State policymakers hear frequently from employers that they cannot find skilled workers for open positions. Many of these positions are middle-skill jobs that require some form of postsecondary training, but not a bachelor’s degree. This article discusses state strategies to close skill gaps and meet employer skill needs.

Credit for Prior Learning is gaining traction as one strategy for advancing postsecondary degree attainment. While much progress has been made in institutions across the U.S., challenges remain in the widespread acceptance and application of prior learning to provide transfer pathways. State and regional collaborations offer promising models.

The United States faces a pressing national security and competitiveness challenge rooted in a shortage of a diverse, highly skilled workforce, particularly in vital cross-disciplinary fields such as data science and analytics, cybersecurity, and information technology. To address this challenge, the Business-Higher Education Forum launched the National Higher Education and Workforce Initiative, employing a model of strategic business engagement with postsecondary education to meet the highest priority workforce needs. Through the initiative, the education forum plans, launches and assesses projects, partnerships and scaling strategies that are designed to enable business and higher education to move from transactional engagement in low-touch, piecemeal activities to strategic, long-term partnerships that align postsecondary education with workforce needs. Two of these projects—in Maryland and Ohio— offer models of such partnerships.

The Council of State Governments released a report last week that outlines recommendations for state-level policies that help ensure students are prepared for postsecondary education and the workforce. The report, "A Framework for State Policymakers: Developing Pathways to Ensure a Skilled Workforce for State Prosperity," is the brainchild of CSG's 2014 national leaders who sought to help states prepare today's students for the jobs of tomorrow. Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who served as CSG's 2014 national chair, led the State Pathways to Prosperity initiative, a multi-year effort to identify obstacles—and alternative pathways—to prosperity for many Americans.

On August 15, state policy legislators and education officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education as part of the CSG East Annual meeting held in Wilmington, Delaware.

On August 15, state legislators and postsecondary officials attended the CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education as part of the CSG East Annual Meeting held in Wilmington, Delaware.

New York Sen. Carl Marcellino understands the evolving conditions as business and industry work to fill vacant jobs with skilled employees.  “The workplace is changing rapidly, making it imperative that we develop innovative ways to educate and prepare our students for the demands of an increasingly diverse and global culture and economy,” said Marcellino, the 2015 national chairman of The Council of State Governments.

Unlike many college students, military veterans bring a set of skills and past training, but are less likely to persist to a degree and more likely to be unemployed. When postsecondary institutions offer college credit for prior learning in the military, most students complete college faster, attain a degree or credential and leave with less student debt.

Sharing a story about one of his constituents, West Virginia state Sen. John Unger told the audience at a recent CSG Policy Academy on Innovative Delivery Models in Postsecondary Education that a young mother told him, “I have three jobs and two children. I don’t need another job; I need a good job,”