National Governors Association Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin brought together state teams to discuss her yearlong effort, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs. She was joined by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon. The initiative focuses on improving state education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of individual state economies.


“Preparing America’s 21st century workforce to keep pace and stay competitive is an issue that not only calls for national attention, it also demands gubernatorial leadership,” Gov. Fallin said. “Developing a highly educated workforce and closing the skills gap in our states is essential to ensuring our children’s futures and strengthening our economies.”


The ‘new minimum’ for economic success is either a two-year or four-year college degree or a relevant workforce certificate, Fallin noted. Without some kind of postsecondary education, a majority of our children and working adults will find it hard to achieve the American Dream and access a fulfilling middle class life or beyond, Fallin continued.


“Preparing our workforce for tomorrow’s jobs is a critical part of securing the economic future of all Americans,” said Gov. Branstad. “We are working hard in Iowa so that the students of today can have rewarding careers and compete in a dynamic, global economy.”


“By the end of this decade, two-thirds of all jobs will require a postsecondary credential,” said Gov. Nixon. “That is why I am proud to stand with my fellow governors as we work to ensure all students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and the career of their choice. In today’s highly-competitive global economy, education is the best economic development tool there is.”


America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs focuses on four policy components to help states overcome the gap between their education and training systems and the workforce those systems are preparing young people to enter. They are:


• A strong vision for connecting education and the workforce so more Americans have the skills they need for living wage jobs;

• Economic and educational data to inform policy, track progress and measure success;

• Partnerships between public and private sectors to get results; and

• Resources and incentives to the integrated vision.


During NGA’s Winter Meeting, Gov. Fallin released the first report of her initiative,America Works: The Benefit of a More Educated Workforce to Individuals and the Economy. The report frames the issue and lays out key policy components to better address current talent in states and the necessary talent companies need to continue to grow and thrive.


Gov. Fallin hosted two previous regional summits in Connecticut and New Mexico. The summits were designed to give state teams an opportunity to learn from one another and enact change in their states.


During the NGA Summer Meeting, Gov. Fallin will provide governors with a guide that profiles best practices and gives them strategies to make progress on the overarching agenda of aligning these systems.