Michigan governor unveils $100 million “Marshall Plan for Talent”

Investments in STEM education, apprenticeship programs, and tech-focused tuition assistance are among a handful of proposals included in the “Marshall Plan for Talent” last Thursday. The plan includes $100 million in talent investments and utilizes a three-pronged approach to training by addressing K-12 education, higher education and the state’s existing workforce. The funds would come from savings due to a state bond refinancing, according to the governor.

Keeping pace with the needs of a skilled workforce

If the U.S. is going to continue to compete globally and win on innovation, more workers will have to attain credentials allowing them to keep pace with the demands of the shifting workforce, say several recent reports. However, only a quarter of the states have more than 50 percent of their prime working age population attaining some kind of credential beyond high school according to a new study from the Lumina Foundation. A new Brookings analysis finds that 15 percent of young people are “disconnected,” meaning they do not have a job and are not in school. To meet the demands that the work of the future will entail, Lumina advocates that 60 percent of those aged 25 to 64 have some credential beyond high school by 2025 (the current national average is 46.9 percent).

Workforce winning in latest state budget proposals; KS, MA, MI, OK, TN reviewed

Workforce development programs and apprenticeships continue to win favor in many of the governors’ state budget proposals. In our latest review of TBED initiatives being proposed in state budgets, we found Kansas asking for additional funds for research, worker training and apprenticeships; Massachusetts is looking to double community college scholarship funding and increase several workforce development initiatives; and in Michigan, skilled trades training would receive a boost.

WEF launches tech-reskilling drive to retrain 1 million workers free

Addressing what it believes is a global skills gap in IT and job displacement resulting from automation, the World Economic Forum (WEF) launched an initiative that is seeking to reach 1 million people with resources and training opportunities by January 2021. The SkillSET portal is intended to help users acquire the skills and education to adapt to an increasingly digital workplace.

Recent Research: Customized services are cost-effective economic development tools

Financial incentives for company recruitment and retention still dominate state and local economic development expenditures, but recent research estimates that extension programs and customized job training can accomplish development goals in a more cost-effective manner. Despite this, customized services get, on average, five cents of public investment for every dollar that traditional financial incentive strategies receive.

Some experts remain skeptical of the ‘skills gap,’ both sides of debate agree on solutions

In 2016, a study – Skill Demands and Mismatch in U.S. Manufacturing – found that approximately 75 percent of manufacturers showed no signs of hiring difficulties.  This study and others (including a 2015 study from Iowa State University) are reigniting a long held economic development debate over the ‘skills gap’ – a contention that there is a mismatch between the abilities employers seek in candidates and the capabilities of workers developed by the educational/workforce development systems. Challenging the conventional wisdom put forth by employers, pundits, and policymakers, these studies seem to indicate that the problem does not lie with the U.S. workforce development and educational system. Instead, the problem stems from two primary issues at the firm level:

  • A lack of employer-sponsored training; and,
  • A lack of competitive wages.

Digital skills imperative in changing nature of workforce

Two recent reports detail the changing nature of jobs and highlight the importance of digital skills for the workforce. To guard against a greater income divide and ensure a competitive workforce, the studies — one from Brookings and the other from the McKinsey Global Institute — outline policy prescriptions that may ease the transition.

Number of “good jobs” grows slowly across US, mainly in service industries

Since 1991, every state has added good jobs for workers without  four-year degrees in skilled-services industries like healthcare and finance, but fewer than half have added good jobs for similar workers in blue-collar industries like manufacturing, according to The Good Jobs Project, an initiative of The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

EDA invests $30 million to drive innovation, entrepreneurship in coal impacted communities

Through its  2017 Assistance to Coal Communities (ACC 2017) initiative, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) announced $30 million in funding to assist locally-driven efforts to communities and regions severely impacted by the declining use of coal through activities and programs that support economic diversification, job creation, capital investment, workforce development, and re-employment opportunities. In total, EDA will support 35 projects in 16 states.

Google launches $1B workforce development effort focused on preparing US workers for jobs of the future

Last week, Google announced the launch of several efforts as part of its Grow with Google initiative – a five-year $1-billion plus plan to invest in nonprofits that specialize in training workers and helping new businesses get off the ground. Through this new plan, Google indicated it will work to close the world’s education and opportunity gaps. During the Grow with Google launch event in Pittsburgh, Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai announced several new efforts including: 


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