Building a Better Workforce

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.

"State leaders are keenly interested in growing state economies," said David Adkins, CSG's executive director. "They have consistently heard from businesses large and small that one of the greatest impediments to business expansion is the lack of an adequately trained 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.

“Workforce development and relevant education present, at once, some of the greatest challenges—as well as opportunities—of our time,” Norris said. “This report, and its recommendations, demonstrates CSG’s commitment to be an active participant in the nationwide effort to close the ‘skills gap’ standing between too many of our citizens and opportunities for meaningful employment.”

With the continued commitment and leadership of CSG's 2015 national chair, New York state Sen. Carl Marcellino, the National Task Force on Workforce Development and Education reviewed the major barriers that a vast number of Americans face in career advancement: child poverty; hunger and nutrition; veterans' concerns; and criminal justice issues.

The report is the work product of the task force and four subcommittees, representing more than a year of study, dialogue and deliberation by state officials from both parties, all regions of the U.S. and from diverse perspectives.

"I commend all the leaders and experts whose work is reflected in the contents of the report," Adkins said. "I am also proud of all that the states have achieved in the past few years—much of which is shared in this report—to grow their economies and position our nation for success in the global economy."

The report is available to download at