workforce

Workforce programs receiving state attention

As the month of September marks national Workforce Development Month, states around the country continue to forge ahead with programs and initiatives to help train the workforce and attract more workers to open positions. This article highlights two new reports out that detail state efforts in various workforce programs, as well as calling out several new or proposed programs in Ohio, Vermont and Arizona that are designed to increase and develop the workforce in each of those states.

Aging manufacturing workforce analyzed

Manufacturers are aware and concerned about the aging of their manufacturing workforce, according to a recent report from the Manufacturing Institute’s Center for Manufacturing Research. The report notes that a recent outlook survey found that attracting and retaining a quality workforce is one of the top challenges facing manufacturers, where nearly one-quarter of the sector’s workforce is age 55 or older.

Automation could increase economic divide between urban areas & rural communities

The continuing trend toward automation could widen the disparities between high-growth urban areas and rural counties at a time when workforce mobility is at historic lows, and the current economic health of urban, suburban and rural economies will impact their ability to adapt, according to a new report from the McKinsey Global Institute: The Future

Adults without degrees can benefit from certificates

While higher education remains a viable path to economic advancement, adults without a postsecondary degree are increasingly benefitting from non-degree certificates and certifications, according to a recent report. As automation and technological advances demand more skills from workers in the changing economy, Strada Education Network and Lumina Foundation partnered to determine the value and impact of the growing number of non-degree credentials.

Degree requirements dropped as equity sought in workplace

At a time when higher education degrees are both under scrutiny and lauded, one county government in Colorado is experimenting with an initiative that has eliminated degree requirements for more than 80 positions. It wasn’t the value of the degree that prompted the move, but the question of equity and wanting to achieve a more inclusive workforce. While such moves are rare, similar efforts may blaze the way to new workforce requirements and advancements and help inclusion.

Fed research explores employment opportunities for workers without college degrees

More than one-in-five jobs across America’s metropolitan areas are defined as opportunity occupations, those that pay above the national annual median wage and are accessible to workers without a bachelor’s degree, according to new research from authors at the Federal Reserve Banks of Philadelphia and Cleveland. In Opportunity Occupations Revisited: Exploring Employment for Sub-baccalaureate Workers Across Metro Areas and Over Time, authors Kyle Fee and Lisa Nelson from the Cleveland Fed and Keith Wardrip from the Philadelphia Fed reexamine findings from a 2015 study. This update offers an in-depth analysis of the largest metropolitan areas across the country, finding that a region’s occupational mix and cost of living play a significant role in determining their share of opportunity employment.

Washington’s expansive college tuition program intended to build state's workforce

The Washington legislature passed a higher education bill that is awaiting the governor’s signature that would provide more aid for state residents attending higher education institutions in the state. The bill could raise nearly $1 billion over four years through an increase in the state’s business and occupation tax.

NY unveils $175 million workforce development initiative

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a new effort to streamline the state’s workforce development programs. The $175 million Workforce Development Initiative will consolidate the state’s fragmented workforce development funding opportunities. Using the state’s 10 regional economic development councils (REDC’s) to suggest and prioritize projects, the initiative will offer awards in three competitive categories: public-private partnerships that expand infrastructure and capacity for state universities to meet employer needs; programs to expand employer investment in workforce pipelines; and, workforce solutions that provide flexible funding for innovative workforce development projects such as those targeting advanced industries or underrepresented populations.

Clean energy jobs will require workforce transition

Earth Day has evolved from environmental consciousness raising in its beginnings in the early 1970s to this year’s celebration surrounded with climate change concerns and development of the clean energy industry..  A recent report from the Brookings Institution shows more discussion needs to happen around the types of workers, activities and skills that will be needed in the clean energy industry, and how those efforts can be more inclusive. Transitioning to a clean energy economy will involve 320 unique occupations spread across clean energy production, energy efficiency and environmental management, the authors found. The report highlights the fact that those workers earn higher and more equitable wages compared to all workers nationally, and many of those occupations tend to have lower educational requirements.

Innovation, broadband, higher education initiatives get state support

Innovation initiatives are seeing increased funding in some states as legislatures across the country begin to finalize budget bills and other legislation. SSTI continues to monitor these developments and this week we cover budget bills in Idaho that saw small increases to the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program, as well as increases in the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and STEM Action Center, and new funding for a computer science initiative. South Dakota will see an increase in funding for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and West Virginia passed bills creating an SBIR/STTR matching grant program, support for community and technical college tuition assistance, expansion of broadband service, and other innovation-related initiatives in its budget that passed earlier in March.

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