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Guide for building a resilient workforce amid technological disruption published by NGA

As COVID-19 accelerates disruptions impacting the American workforce, the National Governors Association (NGA) has issued the findings of a comprehensive two-year project examining ways that governors and other state policymakers can nurture a technologically resilient workforce ready to thrive in an evolving economy.

The ‘State Guide for Preparing the Future Workforce Now’ presents findings and recommendations from the ‘Future Workforce Now: Reimagining Workforce Policy in the Age of Disruption initiative’ (Future Workforce Now). The guide is available online and via an interactive website where users can explore 150 policy and program examples from more than 40 states; in-depth case studies from Alabama, Arkansas and Washington; and global initiatives that promote lifelong learning and that train and credential an evolving workforce.

The new guide says that COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate disruptions already affecting the US workforce, including the adoption of automation, shortages of skilled workers in high-demand fields and growing wealth inequality driven by inequitable access to education and training. Because key aspects of education and workforce development programs are determined at the state level, governors are best positioned to commit to systems transformations that enable their citizens to succeed in the workforce of the future. Without these commitments to systems change, the disruptions impacting the workforce will exacerbate inequities that disproportionately affect traditionally disadvantaged and marginalized populations.

The guide is a timely resource to help states recover from the impacts of COVID-19. It recommends that states:  

  • Build statewide ecosystems that promote lifelong learning for all workers by orienting leaders toward a shared vision, investing in data and a transparent credential infrastructure, and aligning funding with state workforce goals.
  • Innovate teaching and learning models to close the digital skills gap by engaging employers to develop demand-driven training programs offering flexible learning pathways for all workers.
  • Increase investments in the comprehensive supports that enable all workers to succeed in the workforce, including access to financial aid, career advice and information, portable credentials, and flexibility to succeed in the gig economy.

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