The National Governors Association (NGA) and Western Governors University (WGU) are partnering to address the future of work and education, as well as develop best practices in state policy that will result in greater access to higher education.

“For more than a century, our higher education system has evolved very little, even as the nature of work has shifted dramatically,” said WGU President Scott Pulsipher. “A system that was designed to serve learners well in the post-industrial area, today has resulted in widening gaps relative to work, and significant disparities in access and attainment. Our partnership with the NGA will help democratize education now and in the future, as we advance our focus on skills-based education to support individuals as they pursue opportunity and prosperity through their unique pathways.”

Through the partnership, NGA and WGU will focus on four initiatives to address and overcome workforce and education issues that states are currently facing. According to a press release from NGA, the initiatives are:

  • Skills Ecosystem: WGU is supporting states to learn about, develop, and implement the newest workforce technologies through NGA’s State Strategies for Skills and Lifelong Learning Systems conference. The initiative marks the beginning of a portfolio of NGA postsecondary work focused on skills, reskilling/upskilling education pathways, credentialing, and lifelong learning. WGU will play a key partnership role in these efforts over the next year.
  • The Workforce Innovation Network: The network, which is partially funded by WGU, will provide grants to select states to advance digital skills development for equitable economic participation in alignment with state workforce and economic development goals.
  • Broadband Access: The digital divide is a limiting factor to the development of the current workforce and a major contributor to inequities in access to opportunity. WGU and NGA will create best practices for states to advance policies to make broadband ubiquitous, affordable, and accessible so all people can participate in modern education and work.
  • NGA Chairman’s Initiative: WGU will support the NGA and its chairman, Governor Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, to promote best practices in education that include computer science as an imperative for the security of states and the country, and as a path to thriving careers for individuals.


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