Workforce Development Roundup: Oklahoma’s apprenticeship goal, Utah’s “Silicon Slopes,” Arizona helps former inmates find work

The Chairman’s Initiative of South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard is leveraging the region’s best thinking to bridge the gap between prospective workers and employers in the West. In addition to workshops and webinars, WGA provides periodic updates on workforce development in western states. Photo: New York Times 

An 80-mile stretch of Utah has been dubbed “Silicon Slopes” for being home to at least five companies valued at more than $1 billion. As demand for data analytics, e-commerce, medical devices and cloud-commuting has grown, local venture capital firms have followed, transforming the region into “a full tech ecosystem.”  

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin announced a goal to increase the number of paid internships and apprenticeships in the state to 20,000 each year by 2020. "Increasing the number of work-based learning opportunities in our state — for not only the youth but also our adults — is vital to ensuring that Oklahoma can continue to prosper and move forward" said Gov. Fallin.

The Colorado Economic Development Commission approved major economic development incentives for the construction of two manufacturing plants that would bring more than 1,000 jobs to the Centennial State.

Arizona is helping former inmates with transportation to job interviews on their first day of work by partnering with Uber.

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter restructured the state’s workforce development council, saying “Idaho businesses need a more nimble, responsive and focused effort to address a skills gap that threatens to leave us tens of thousands of workers short of the jobs we’re creating.”

Washington-based Apprenti, the nation's first registered tech apprenticeship program, will expand nationally to recruit, train and place diverse talent into tech jobs. Apprenti was featured at the recent Western Governors’ Workforce Development Initiative workshop in Seattle, watch the roundtable discussion here.

North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum launched a task force to examine the governance structure of the state’s higher education system to ensure the model meets changing workforce needs.

Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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