Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration convened state leaders—along with representatives from workforce policy and advocacy organizations, unions, federal agencies, and other stakeholders—to discuss states’ efforts to expand investments in students and workers that lead to good jobs in high-demand sectors. President Biden’s historic Investing in America agenda—including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, CHIPS and Science Act, Inflation Reduction Act, and American Rescue Plan—is creating strong demand for skilled workers in clean energy, biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, semiconductors, and more. To meet this demand for skilled workers, states are leveraging federal funds and taking bold and innovative actions—from launching free or low-cost community college programs; to expanding earn-and-learn job training opportunities, such as registered apprenticeship programs; to investing a share of their highway formula funds in high-quality workforce development, including supportive services such as child care and transportation. First Lady Jill Biden, a community college educator, continues to travel the country to highlight models that invest in workforce training, career-connected learning programs, and pathways to good-paying jobs.

At yesterday’s convening, senior Administration officials including Neera Tanden, Director of the Domestic Policy Council and Mala Adiga, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy for the First Lady, heard from leaders representing a dozen states about model programs to lower costs, expand quality job training for students and workers, and better connect education and workforce systems; how they are braiding together federal and state investments; and how the Biden-Harris Administration can continue to support states’ efforts. For example, participants heard about Michigan’s expansion of free community college; Maryland’s workforce development investments using federal highway funds; Colorado’s state workforce initiatives that connect students to in-demand jobs; and Indiana’s efforts to connect high school students to work-based learning and career scholarship accounts.

Administration officials called on states to invest at least 0.5% of their eligible federal highway formula funds, which total nearly $50 billion per year, to expand and diversify their construction workforces. States can follow the examples of Maryland and Pennsylvania by investing highway funds in high-quality workforce approaches such as registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs and supportive services like child care and transportation assistance for workers.

Participants in the White House State Workforce Day Convening included state leaders from:  

  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin


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