From: The Council of State Governments
To: Dean Sanpei,
Subject: March/April 2014 Capitol Ideas--Hot Topic: Workforce Development
Date: Tue Mar 11 18:34:16 MDT 2014

Hot Top ic
Regional Roundup
10 Questions
By the Book
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Workforce Development Dependent
on Education Success
B y Jennifer Ginn , CSG Associate Editor 
What happens in classrooms rarely figures into the discussions state policymakers have about economic development. Tennessee Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris, who is serving as The Council of State Governments' 2014 chair, thinks it's time to change that.
10 Questions--Laying a Foundation  
for a Better Workforce 
By Mary Branham, CSG Managing Editor 


West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, the 2014 president of The Council of State Governments, sees education as a key to developing a workforce for the jobs of tomorrow. But he believes states can do other things to attract jobs, like establishing a stable business climate, performance-based business incentives and more investment in university research.


» Read the full story here.

States Focus on Retraining
Workforce for 21st Century
By Jennifer Burnett, CSG Program Manager for Fiscal and Economic Policy


Technological advancements, particularly in the manufacturing area, mean workers need more specialized skills to get and keep jobs. To get those skilled workers, companies must make a decision: Look for new, qualified employees or retrain their current workforce. States are developing worker retraining programs to make that choice easier for employers.


» Read the full story here.

Evidence Shows Raising Minimum Wage Hasn't Cost Jobs

By Nicholas Johnson, Vice President of State Fiscal Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities


When it comes to raising the minimum wage, the objection opponents most often make is that it will cost jobs. The evidence from the states that already have stepped up to increase the minimum wage shows that simply is not the case.


» Read the full story here.

By the Book--Minimum Wage 2014

When Jan. 1 dawned this year, 13 states had minimum wages higher than where they were set in 2013. And while federal officials continue to debate increasing the federal minimum wage, 21 states already have rates that beat the federal government's minimum.


» Read the full story here.

Reshoring Brings Manufacturing Back
B Mary Branham CSG Managing Editor  


While the lure of cheap labor drove many companies to offshore production in the past few decades, changing economic conditions are bringing many companies back to America's shores. About 120,000 jobs have been reshored since 2010. Lower energy prices in the U.S. and the rising cost of wages in China are two big reasons for the turnaround.


» Read the full story here.

Trends in Unemployment
B Jennifer Burnett CSG Program Manager
for Fiscal and Economic Policy


By the end of 2013, the nation's unemployment rate had fallen to its lowest level in five years. While unemployment trust funds are looking better, long-term unemployment continues to be an issue for many states.


» Read the full story here.

Entrepreneurship 101
B Mary Branham CSG Managing Editor  


Companies that are younger than five years old basically have created all the new jobs in the U.S. in the past 30 years, according to the Kauffman Foundation. And while incubation centers and business accelerators may be popular in the states for encouraging entrepreneurship, they don't seem to work. States would be better served, one expert says, by encouraging networking.


» Read the full story here.

State Tourism Assets
Also Can Be a Draw for Inudstry

By Carrie Abner, CSG Marketing Coordinator


State tourism efforts took a big hit during the Great Recession, with 31 states cutting almost $53 million out of tourism advertising and marketing budgets between 2008 and 2009. But more states are finding their cultural assets are an important draw not only for tourists, but also for new businesses looking to set up shop.


Balancing the Need for Jobs with Protecting the Environment

By Debra Miller, CSG Director of Health Policy


State policymakers often find themselves struggling to balance the needs of creating new jobs for their constituents with the need to protect the environment. Experts, who contend that jobs and the environment are not mutually exclusive, say policymakers need to carefully consider what types of job they want to create.


NAFTA's Winners and Losers

By Jennifer Ginn, CSG Associate Editor


While the North American Free Trade Agreement seems to have been neither the huge economic boon nor bust that people were predicting after its passage 20 years ago, its impact has varied depending upon where you're located. Two state legislators with doctorates in economics discuss the effects of NAFTA on both the national and their state's economy.


State, Federal Cooperation on Export Promotion Has Helped Businesses

By Wade Merritt, President, State International Development Organizations


Using federal matching grants made available through the State Trade and Export Promotion program, known as STEP, several states that have not traditionally been big exporters are seeing impressive gains. In a country still recovering from the Great Recession, the STEP program is a smart way for states to move ahead economically.


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