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Six states will receive financial, policy and technical assistance for designing education and training programs for workers over the next 18 months thanks to a joint initiative by the National Governors Association (NGA) and Strada Education Network, the organizations announced in August.
Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Wyoming will join the Educate for Opportunity initiative. Each will receive an initial grant worth $100,000, as well as state-specific, data compiled from interviews with workers to inform "evidence-based policy solutions" for educating them, a press statement said.
The project aims to boost resource allocation for those workers who either haven't pursued postsecondary education or who have earned some college credit, but not a credential, Amanda Winters, NGA's postsecondary education program director, said in the statement. It will run from Sept. 1, 2019 through March 1, 2021.
Public-private partnerships are growing as businesses look to external partners for assistance in filling jobs and training talent. Partnerships like the Skillful State Network, as well as the NGA- and Strada-led Educate for Opportunity, take specific aims beyond training workers for today's needs — they aim to challenge communities to look at educational investment opportunities as well.
At the same time, large employers are making direct, ambitious investments into training on their own. Salesforce, for example, announced in May a goal of upskilling half a million workers free of charge. That aside, some 41% of workers believe employers aren't training their employees for the future, according to an Axonify study released in August. This suggests employers will need to strike partnerships that not only allow them to plan for the needs of today, but also those of tomorrow.
Employers may need to collaborate with government agencies, non-profits and even teachers themselves to prepare the workforce of the future. Cookie-cutter educational pathways, including four-year degree programs, are not the best option for every student, and alternative pathways to education and employment — apprenticeships among them — may instead be key to filling the needs of businesses and workers.