This week, the National Skills Coalition released its roundup of this year’s major state legislative actions aiming to close the middle-skills gap across the country. Be sure to check out the full paper and related webinar, which includes deep dives on new workforce development efforts in Virginia and Minnesota, to learn more.
Here are some of the workforce-related highlights from this year’s legislative sessions:
- Implementing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA): Sector partnerships, career pathways and job-driven training are among the key strategies that WIOA requires states to use. Some states – including California, Florida and Virginia – enacted legislation to help implement the new federal workforce law.
- Career Pathways: Along with Colorado’s new career pathways legislation, which we talked about earlier this year, Minnesota also expanded its adult career pathways efforts and FastTRAC up-skilling program with a combined $11.2 million appropriation for the 2016-17 biennium budget.
- Tuition Assistance: We already know that in July, Oregon became the second state to offer free community college. Nebraska has also approved a tuition gap assistance program to help residents enrolled in certain associate degree and certificate programs as well as non-credit, job-driven training programs. Recipients can use the funds to cover the costs of tuition, direct training, fees, required books and equipment.
- Work-based Learning and Job-driven Training: Washington, Colorado and California all expanded work-based learning opportunities, in particular apprenticeships. In California, lawmakers allocated $29.1 million to grow new and existing apprenticeship programs in high-growth industries. Arkansas and Maine also established new employer-driven training programs.
Andrea Zimmermann, State Policy Associate