Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb are continuing to lead the nation when it comes to innovative workforce development policy that expands opportunity for American workers. The dynamic duo participated in a meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board at the White House today.
Established via Executive Order by President Trump, the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board provides recommendations on ways to encourage the private sector and educational institutions to combat the skills crisis by investing in and increasing demand-driven education, training, and re-training, including apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities. Chaired by Presidential Advisor Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the Board includes private sector and nonprofit leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, and Boys & Girls Clubs of America CEO Jim Clark.
The two governors have made boosting their states’ workforces through strategies like apprenticeships and skills training a top priority:
A key pillar of Governor Holcomb’s Next Level Agenda is a commitment to developing a 21st Century skilled and ready workforce. Under the governor’s Next Level Jobs initiative, Hoosiers have the opportunity to receive free training in high-paying, in-demand industries. Since the program launched in August 2017, more than 25,000 Hoosiers have been connected to high-demand, tuition-free certificate programs, with over 13,300 completing a certificate program in some of Indiana’s highest demand sectors, including healthcare, information technology and advanced manufacturing. Workers who have completed a certificate program have seen an average wage increase of $6,400 a year. Governor Holcomb is also incentivizing job creators to participate in worker training and re-training through his Employer Training Grant program, which provides up to $50,000 in funding to Indiana companies who hire new employees, train them, and keep them on staff for at least six months. The Employer Training Grant has served more than 530 employers and trained nearly 9,000 employees.
Governor Reynolds championed and enacted the Future Ready Iowa Act, which established a program connecting Iowans to the education and training they need to attain good paying jobs in sectors like advanced manufacturing, computer science, finance, and healthcare. The goal of Future Ready Iowa is to have 70% of Iowans with education and training beyond high school by 2025. Last year, more than 5,800 Iowa students received new Future Ready Iowa Last-Dollar Scholarships for Fall 2019. These scholarships provide eligible students with tuition and fee assistance for postsecondary credentials up to two-year degrees in key industry sectors.
At today’s White House meeting, President Trump signed a new Executive Order directing the federal government to overhaul its hiring to prioritize a job applicant’s skills and knowledge over degree requirements – a priority that Governor Reynolds said “align[s] with what we are doing in Iowa to upskill and reskill Iowans for great careers!”
“Now more than ever as Indiana and the country grapple with the economic impacts of COVID-19, I remain focused on investing in people and their potential,” said Governor Holcomb, continuing, “I‘m so pleased to partner with the Administration and our nation’s top leaders on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board to share Hoosier successes and develop a strategy to empower the American workforce to better meet today’s challenges.”
“Iowa is a proven blueprint for expanding opportunities through work based learning, registered apprenticeships, and skill-based hiring,” said Governor Reynolds. “So while COVID19 forced all of us to reimagine how our workforce functions, there’s a path forward. Today’s conversations centered around cutting-edge job training, education, and investing in digital infrastructure to ensure the American people are coming back to the workforce poised for even greater success than ever before.”