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New NGA Chair Announces Yearlong Initiative

Press Release

Location: Milwaukee, WI

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin officially became chair of the National Governors Association (NGA) today during the closing session of the NGA Summer Meeting. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was named vice chair.

Gov. Fallin announced her chair's initiative, America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow's Jobs,which spotlights improving education and workforce training systems and aligning those systems with the needs of individual state economies.

"Improving our workforce and ensuring it remains internationally competitive isan issue that calls for national attention and demands gubernatorial leadership," Gov. Fallin said. "Our future economic security will require significant improvements to our education system and workforce training programs. It also will require closer relationships among our high schools, colleges, workforce training providers and employers."

Nearly 50 years ago, more than 75 percent of jobs required only a high school diploma or less, and most paid a good wage. Today that number has dropped to roughly 40 percent for jobs available to high school graduates and dropouts--and fewer than a third of those jobs pay more than $25,000 a year. Nationally, just more than three-quarters of public high school students make it to graduation. And of those who continue their education, only about half finish a degree or workforce certificate program.

"While a high school diploma was usually sufficient for our parents' generation to have access to a good life, today a postsecondary degree or relevant workforce certificate is the "new minimum,'" Gov. Fallin said. "Failing to provide all of our students with opportunities to successfully navigate postsecondary education will cap far too many students' potential and limit their access to the middle class."

America Works: Education and Training for Tomorrow's Jobs will specifically focus on:

- Engaging education, business and government leaders in a dialogue about what governors can do to more closely align K-12, universities, community and technical colleges and workforce training providers with future labor demands; and

- Supporting governors and their staff in using data and information to identify states' future labor demands, prioritize changes in state education and workforce training systems to meet those demands and take action to achieve desired results.

The final Summer Meeting session concluded with a focus on cybersecurity. Oklahoma First Gentleman Wade Christensen will chair the Spouses' Leadership Committee. The nation's governors will reconvene February 21-24 in Washington, D.C., for the 2014 NGA Winter Meeting. Next year's Summer Meeting will be hosted by Gov. Bill Haslam in Nashville, Tennessee.

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