State Strategies to Scale Quality Work-Based Learning

This brief strategies governors can implement to increase opportunities for high-quality, demand-driven work-based learning and prepare their citizens for the modern workforce.

Kimberly Hauge
Brent Parton
Author(s) Organizational Affiliation
National Governors Association Center for Best Practices
Publication Year
Resource Type
Informational Material
Number of Pages

Industries in every state are struggling to find qualified applicants for jobs, while job seekers too often find they lack the skills needed to enter or progress along a career pathway. Preparing a workforce that is poised to meet the needs of businesses and ultimately to make the state more economically competitive is a top priority for many governors. State Strategies to Scale Quality Work-Based Learning highlights strategies governors can implement to increase opportunities for high-quality, demand-driven work-based learning and prepare their citizens for the modern workforce.

With the support of their states’ talent pipeline partners, Governors can take a variety of concrete steps to scale high-quality work-based learning experiences:

  • Elevate the state vision for high-quality work- based learning;
  • Implement state-led pilots of high-quality work- based learning programs and plan to evaluate and expand them;
  • Build an infrastructure to support talent pipeline partners’ e orts to scale the programs;
  • Provide incentives for industry to launch and continue sponsoring the programs; and
  • Provide incentives for educational institutions to integrate work-based learning into the education system and support students who participate.
What the experts say

This whitepaper from the National Governor’s Association Center is exactly what is needed to bring businesses, workforce centers, educational centers, and adult learners to the same table to create a win-win for citizens and state economies. However, without a strong adult education component embedded into this approach, it will not be successfully sustained. To date, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has been thorough in bringing adult education to the table. Much of the lasting value for individual adult learners and states’ varied needs can be attained if the ideas in this report are fully implemented.

This paper is an excellent source for policy makers to review their work-based learning systems. It’s particularly important due to shifting policies at the federal level, the “skills mismatch” that is besetting many industries, and the silver tsunami facing America with 10,000 baby boomers reaching retirement age daily. It is essential that local adult education centers, community colleges, workforce centers and local governments work together to bring these ideas to fruition if they want their citizens and states to thrive, attract new business, and remain competitive.

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