Giving Compass' Take:

• The author examines various ways to invest and increase effective and successful workforce development programs. 

• Which workforce development approaches are the most effective? 

• Read about America Forward's initiatives that specifically target youth in workforce development. 

This fact sheet highlights how states can invest in their workforce to promote economic development.

An important component of effective economic development is ensuring that a skilled workforce exists to support business and economic growth. The primary goal of workforce development is to build the skills and credentials of workers and connect them to jobs with family-supporting wages and benefits.

Occupational and job training is one area where state and local governments can help build the skilled labor pool necessary for a thriving community. Governments offer a variety of avenues for job training that do not require a four-year degree.

Customized training programs happen when existing companies are best situated to train new hires in house, and state programs and incentives to encourage training can include reimbursing companies for their own training programs,
setting up custom programs through colleges, and providing financial assistance for employees to acquire training related to employer needs.

Workforce intermediaries serve as a coordinator in a community to better match job seekers with employers. Nonprofits, educational organizations, union groups, or public agencies could all act as an intermediary.

Federal Support for Apprenticeship Programs Evidence suggests that apprenticeships are cost-effective ways to increase productivity and skills. There are active apprenticeship programs, run by either the federal government or state agencies, in every state. The Department of Labor is the primary federal agency that provides funding for registered apprenticeships, although the Departments of Education, Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation, and Housing and Urban Development also provide some resources to support apprenticeship programs.

Read the full article about workforce development by Norton Francis and Lauren Eyster at Urban Institute