Monday, November 4, 2013
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Discusses Education and Workforce Issues,
Calls for ‘New Minimum’
SANTA FE, NM—National Governors Association (NGA) Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin brought together state teams to discuss her yearlong effort, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs. She was joined by American Samoa Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga andUtah Gov. Gary Herbert.The initiative focuses on improving state education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of individual state economies.
Fifty years ago, nearly 80 percent of all jobs required only a high school diploma or less and most paid a good wage, Fallin noted. Today that number has dropped to 35 percent for jobs available to high school graduates and dropouts—and more than two-thirds of those jobs pay less than $25,000 a year.
“Developing a highly educated workforce and closing the skills gap in our states is essential to ensuring our children’s futures and strengthening our economies,” Gov.Fallin said. “The ‘new minimum’ for economic success is either a two-year or four-year college degree or a relevant workforce certificate.”
“I’m glad to join Gov. Fallin in this worthwhile initiative,” said Gov. Moliga. “In American Samoa, we are working hard to improve our education system so our young people have options when they go into postsecondary education and eventually into the workforce.”
“There is nothing more critical to securing the economic future of all Americans than preparing our workforce for tomorrow’s jobs,” said Gov. Herbert. “In Utah, I’ve set a target of having two-thirds of all adults meet Gov. Fallin’s new minimum by the year 2020.”
America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow’s Jobs will specifically focus on four key elements to help states overcome the gap between their education and training systems and the workforce those systems are preparing young people to enter:
Gov. Fallin hosted the first regional summit last month in Connecticut with Gov. Dan Malloy. The final summit will take place next spring in Oklahoma City. The summits are designed to give state teams an opportunity to learn from one another and enact change in their states.