Higher Ed

State Initiatives on Skills-Based Hiring

Parchment Staff  •  Jun 04, 2024  •  Podcast
Parchment Podcast - Credentials Unscripted - Episode-15

Amanda Winters, Program Director at the National Governors Association, shares the work that states are doing to advance “skills-based hiring”. We cover important changes in policy, the inherent ecosystem challenges and what this means for economic mobility.



Matthew Sterenberg (00:09.454)

I’m here with Amanda Winters, Program Director at the National Governors Association. Amanda, welcome to the podcast.


Amanda Winters (00:22.628)

Yeah. Thanks. I’m excited to be here. I feel like I can share all of my unvarnished opinions, which I have many of. So I’m ready.


Matthew Sterenberg (00:31.246)

Yes, yes, completely unscripted. You can go wherever you want. Tell us a little bit more about what you do at the National Governors Association.


Amanda Winters (00:40.452)

Yeah, I feel pretty lucky most of the time. It’s a cool position. I sit in the Center for Best Practices for the National Governors Association. And what a lot of people don’t know about us is that we’re actually two organizations smushed together. So we have the association side, which has state dues, and we do advocacy on the Hill, that kind of stuff. And then the Center for Best Practices is essentially the policy shop or think tank for governors. So we have 13 different policy areas that

stretch across cybersecurity, homeland security, health, energy. So all the different things that governor’s offices are thinking about. So thinking about their priorities as executive of the state. I sit over post -secondary and the way I have sort of framed this since I started, I actually spun up the post -secondary program about six years ago. And the NGA center had before that focused primarily on workforce.

as sort of it’s anything after high school strategy. And they got some feedback from states saying, hey, there’s this whole section of policy that we feel like we want to dig into a little bit deeper. So I was brought on, I was previously at the Illinois Board of Higher Education, and I was brought on to create a portfolio around post -secondary education. We’re entirely soft money funded, so I go out and talk to funders.

about what states are interested in and they invest in projects that are focused on state policy development or implementation. And so as we’re talking today, I can talk a little bit more about what some of those projects look like and how I’m learning about some of these national policy spaces based on what the states are implementing right now in sort of the credentials and skills space. But I think the way we frame my policy area is, and I feel lucky to have the flexibility to sort of figure out what my

perspective is on portfolio development, but really it’s anything after high school that leads to economic mobility pathways. So over the last several years, we’ve seen a lot of emphasis on, you know, shorter term credentials, stackable credentials. Recently, it’s been, you know, very much skills pathways. So I try to stay out of those spaces that already have a really strong voice. For instance, we’re not purely higher education. We purposely chose post -secondary.


Amanda Winters (03:06.404)

as a term because it’s more inclusive of any pathway. Whereas we have great partners like Shio, who are thinking about leveraging higher education pathways and some really specific sort of financing and data implementation. And they’re great partners of ours. And then also just folks like the community college, the Association of Community College Trustees is a huge partner of ours. So.

We sort of have a network of partners that dig in a little bit deeper, but we try to create an umbrella of, you know, what does post -secondary look like from a governor’s perspective? How are you getting people into jobs, moving them into spaces where they have more career mobility, economic mobility, and you’re getting more people, you know, engaged in our economy. So that’s why some of my projects take a much broader view than some of the more specific higher ed.

partners that we engage with. So we’ll dig into that. I know a little bit in the credential conversation today, but that’s sort of why some of the skills conversations is falling under post -secondary rather than maybe workforce and economic development at our organization.


Matthew Sterenberg (04:20.622)

I really like that framing when you explain it like that, it makes a lot of sense. Cause I think we often try to create like this binary where it’s like, are you on a college path or a career path? And this, I feel like this is a theme that’s been coming up lately in all my conversations where it’s like, well, actually, you know, there could be workforce certificates that you also get college credit for, or I might go to the workforce and then college. It just, I feel like it’s, we have to get away from, you know, this.


Amanda Winters (04:31.46)

I hate that.


Matthew Sterenberg (04:48.59)

Are you on this track or this track? And then, and I think that’s the benefit of the skills and competencies conversation is it allows us to map these things to each other. Like what does workforce mean for higher ed and what does higher ed mean for workforce? But let’s start at kind of the, the problem statement. What you have a big initiative on skills -based hiring skills and competencies. Everyone’s talking about them, but like, what are we really trying to solve with skills?


Amanda Winters (05:11.364)

Mm -hmm.


Matthew Sterenberg (05:17.038)

based hiring or skill based hiring? What are we trying to accomplish?


Amanda Winters (05:21.668)

Yeah, I will say we came to this topic in a little bit of a securitas route, but we are following the lead of governors who have stepped out and removed bachelor’s degree requirements in over a dozen states for public sector roles. But we’ve been engaged in the skills conversation for a while now. We started with an exploratory, first of all, a credential sort of focused piece of work that we had. It’s thinking about stackable credentials and how states are thinking about quality.

and the different mechanisms in which they fund those quality pathways. But then there was an exploration of learning and employment records, which is sort of a subset of the skills conversation. It’s the more technology -focused piece of this work. So how do you capture the skills and how do you move them from place to place and how do they get valued at each of those different spots where they land?

So we started an exploration there. We have some states who are doing some really exciting work. Shout out to Alabama and Arkansas and Colorado. So some states that are really leaning in to a holistic view of skills, which includes the technological aspect of the modern day movement of some of our data between systems. And they’re tackling that.


Matthew Sterenberg (06:47.31)

And this is where a lot of the standards bodies, they’re really, they want to be able to transfer all these skills, competencies, learning outcomes. Let’s make it data so that we can send it back and forth. And we need to all agree on what the standard is for transferring this data back and forth. Is that a good summation?


Amanda Winters (06:50.724)



Amanda Winters (07:10.244)

Yeah, it is. And I think I do not pretend to be an expert on data standards. In fact, no offense to my colleagues who are in this space, but it puts me to sleep to talk about data standards. I will just acknowledge, I think they’re important. Okay, cool. It’s on you then. Because for me, I just say, I can acknowledge that data standards are important in this conversation.


Matthew Sterenberg (07:23.758)

I pretend to be an expert. Yeah. So that’s what I do. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Amanda Winters (07:38.564)

That’s as far as I go. Like I get it, cool. And then all the people who are smarter than me in data stuff should figure out what that looks like. But that was sort of our first foray into some of these more structured conversations around skills. And then we’ve moved recently because of these gubernatorial moves to remove the degree requirement. We’ve moved in a direction that really focuses on the public sector as an employer.

which to me is super exciting. First of all, you know, governor’s leading, always great for the role that I’m in. But also once you start to look at the data in almost every state, and I say almost because I have not dug into absolutely every state. And so I want to leave space for me being wrong in one state or the other. But in almost every state, the public sector is the biggest employer. And in many states, it’s one out of five people in the state are employed by state or local government.

And that’s huge. And yet, when we do these conversations about employer engagement across all of the work we do in education workforce, public sector is almost never at the table as an employer. They’re always at the table thinking about pathways and funding and data, but never really focusing in on their role as a talent pipeline developer. And I think that that’s

a cool switch that we’re making with this project in addition to expanding the conversation about what skills -based hiring is.


Matthew Sterenberg (09:13.518)

And it’s like sleeping in your own bed a little bit, right? Or sleeping in the bed you make to a degree where it’s like governors, policymakers are talking about this stuff.


Amanda Winters (09:21.668)

So I’ll jump into a little bit about what the project looks like and just emphasize a few things that are happening right now. We have 24 states and territories who are engaged with us right now and are leaning into a conversation around skills -based hiring. This has become sort of a really focused HR and culture change conversation in a way that I did not necessarily expect.

Which is cool, it’s exciting for us to be able to partner with states in this really concrete way. But what it’s showing me too is that this connects to our earlier conversations on learning and employment records around sort of, you know, what’s the data that needs to flow between agencies and organizations in order for people to more easily move based on their skills through some of these systems.

But also, the credential conversation is, I think, critical here, but it’s easy to get lost in the conversation around skills -based hiring. Shorter -term credentials, stackable credentials, are proxies for skills in the same way that larger actual degrees are. Yeah, so it’s just really broken down into different pieces, but I think that there’s…


Matthew Sterenberg (10:38.67)

Yeah, a degree. Yeah. Yeah.


Amanda Winters (10:45.796)

We’ve been talking more about individual skills when we’re talking about skills -based hiring, like how do we sort of capture all these things learned in these different spaces and not really thinking about the importance of proxies in the flow of information for hiring processes. And what scares me the most about this is in the past couple of years, we were talking about learning and employment record stuff.

One of the things that got highlighted for me through some of the research that happened, specifically some of my friends and colleagues at Northeastern University did some research that showed that HR IT systems were not ingesting digital credentials and that they weren’t planning to in the near term. And so I think, okay, what are we doing? What are we creating on the education and training side? Like, where is it going? Is it just swirling?

between education workforce people and we’re excited that we created this system to look at this data and feel good about ourselves? Or is this actually gonna help people who hadn’t gotten access to jobs before get in the pool of job applicants for jobs? So opening up opportunity. I think my go -to phrase for all of this work is I don’t wanna work on creating pathways for people who already have pathways.

If we’re doing that, then it’s meaningless to me. I just did this weird administrative exercise, patting myself on the back for data, for people who already had the opportunity, getting additional opportunities. I really want to see, does this change anything? And I think that’s what states are focusing on now too, is we want to get different people, more people, different kinds of people into some of these pipelines for our jobs.

And I’m focused on how that can be a lever for, you know, to hopefully prompt the private sector also to be more open and transparent about their strategies for skills -based hiring and how we can speak together across states and private sector about, you know, our roles in talent pipeline development and the advancement, engagement and upskilling of different types of talent sources.


Matthew Sterenberg (13:03.278)

So you highlighted something I think is really interesting. Are we, we take the degree away as a requirement. Great. But what you highlighted is, are we just going to replace it with something else? Like all the skills and competencies that you would, that you would earn on your way to a degree. It’s, it’s just a, we’re closing the door in the same way that we were before. So how do we actually focus on the skills and competency competencies that are actually required? But then how do we create that pathway for people that

we’re being denied because they didn’t have a bachelor’s and associates or whatever else. The thing that always gets me, you highlighted it is the adoption piece. Where does it begin? For the HR information systems, do they have to take the lead? But I could see if you were in their shoes, they’d be like, no one is gonna send us these. Why are we gonna change our software and our workflow when these aren’t available? But at the same point, it’s kind of the chicken and the egg.

Well, I’m not going to create it if no one’s asking for it, right? If, if the employer, so it is a very difficult adoption is the name of the game. Like there’s ideas are cheap technology could be built, right? How do we get this like wide scale adoption? And that’s why I think it’s cool that the public sector is leading because you know, these, you have more control over the public sector. You know, you can actually insinuate change.


Amanda Winters (14:24.548)

Mm -hmm, yeah.


Matthew Sterenberg (14:28.654)

You know, especially if the governor says, Hey, this is something we really want to do. Here’s how we’re going to run it. So I think it’s really cool that you’re leading in that way. What, what barriers do you see? And yeah, what are the challenges? Like if you’re, people are seeing a home going, okay, it’s obviously not this easy, but what have you encountered?


Amanda Winters (14:49.956)

Yeah, so there are several things. And this is not against, of course, any of the states that are launching this work or any of the private sector partners. Specifically, this is just sort of general things that I see. First of all, I think one of the dangers that continues to pop up is that by emphasizing skills -based hiring strategies, we’re going to create a bifurcated hiring system. We’re going to have…

traditional hires that come in through our regular systems and have the degrees from the big universities that we’ve always gotten applicants from. And then we’re going to have the skills -based hires. And in some early data around a specific sector, when we were talking to our partners over at LinkedIn, they were sharing some early data saying when you remove the bachelor’s degree requirement, wages dropped.

for those roles. And so that’s, I’m not saying that that’s gonna be the trend across all, but it is a red flag. It is a flag that says, hey, we need to be intentional about how we create these opportunities. And it can’t just be, okay, if these people from, I don’t know, American university get a job here, they’re gonna get paid here. But if we bring up somebody through a skills pathway,


Matthew Sterenberg (15:50.126)

Amanda Winters (16:16.26)

and remove the degree requirement for that role, they will do the same job and get paid less. We don’t want to create inequity through and cement a lot of existing inequity through whatever we’re trying to build. And I think that’s a danger. It’s a challenge that we need to be aware of. Yes.


Matthew Sterenberg (16:36.462)

Unintended consequence. Yeah. Where you’re the, no, the whole purpose was we want people that don’t have a bachelor’s degree to get access to like the wages of someone that has a bachelor’s degree because they have the same skills required. And it’s like, unintended consequence. Yeah. That’s interesting.


Amanda Winters (16:51.108)

Yes. Yes. Another one is, another challenge is, and I come from a background of having worked at a university system. I worked with a state regulatory system that oversaw university and college systems. But we’re avoiding talking to faculty about a lot of this stuff in the early stages. We’re like, we’ll create essentially an alternative.

to talking to faculty about some of this stuff, which I get it, they have their own culture within academia, shared governance, super important, not gonna say I don’t like it. But I think people think it’s hard to work with faculty on some of these things, so they don’t do it. But in the end, it does a disservice to the learner. That’s who it does the disservice to, is that you haven’t talked to faculty and engaged them in a conversation about this.

Therefore, they might not understand the information you’re putting out around skills. They might not value those within their own credit bearing systems and award credit where it’s appropriate because they just haven’t been engaged in a meaningful way. So my worry is that we’ll create this whole other language that sits outside of our education systems and say, everybody should value this information. This should help you in your educational pathway, but you have an engaged faculty in this.

And I learned a lesson early on in the work that I did that faculty at a university or college are the ones who award the degrees. It’s not the president. It’s not the administration of the school. It’s the faculty. And if they’re not on board and leaning in and engaging, even though it’s hard sometimes to navigate those systems, it is a critical role that I think many of the conversations are bypassing because it’s difficult.

And again, the people who are gonna be hurt from this are the learner in that they will have a lack of mobility around their skills. So we’re gonna do this administrative exercise of listing out a bunch of skills. And what if nobody cares about that list? What if employers don’t care? What if other educational institutions don’t care? So I feel like we’re doing sort of this test on learners and workers of like, here’s this.


Matthew Sterenberg (19:03.406)



Amanda Winters (19:17.38)

cool platform and we made a bunch of badges for you and we did some really pretty like emojis in it and you can go in there and like play around with it but it does nothing for you and that’s one of my biggest fears too is that we’re gonna say we’re gonna pat ourselves on the back as sort of like the the DC space around you know skills credentials pat ourselves in the magazine well we created all these platforms and now they just have to use them.

And we’re going to say we did a great thing for equity when really nobody had got any concrete outcomes. And I feel like we’re not set up to measure what those outcomes are. There’s so much gray area and murky area around the language of skills. And so we just sit at this space where if we’re not intentional, this could just be just a cluster.

And right now I think there’s a few key groups that are trying to shine a light on some of these areas. We hope that we are one of them sitting alongside states trying to do this, but right now I think we’re at a turning point where this could go well, or we could start to see advancement in the right direction, or this could just be all a waste of time.


Matthew Sterenberg (20:12.75)



Matthew Sterenberg (20:33.742)

the expression that Nick Moore often uses he’s, or was when I spoke with him at the governor’s office in Alabama, he uses the phrase wooden nickels. We want to make sure we’re not giving people wooden nickels. Basically, you know, something that we’re saying, this is currency that can’t be transacted for anything. But to your point, like if this is going to, we have to prove that number one, the outcomes are better for learners or people with skills like that.


Amanda Winters (20:42.66)

Mm -hmm. Yeah.


Amanda Winters (20:48.004)



Matthew Sterenberg (21:02.83)

I have access to more opportunity. And then from the employer side, we have to prove out that you’re unlocking this other source of talent or that the people that you get are better than the people you were getting before. That’s a hard challenge. It’s always difficult to track outcomes and how do we know we’re successful? How are you going to do that? Because obviously you’re on the policy side, a huge task for you is going, you know,

How do we report back? States want this information. What are the guideposts we’re gonna hit along the way in these skills -based hiring initiatives?


Amanda Winters (21:42.532)

Yeah, so that’s been a huge challenge, but I think it’s one of the best challenges for us to tackle because one of the things that states can do is in any of their initiatives is gather the data. And then at the end of that gathering of the data, be like, look, this worked or this didn’t work and we’re going to stop doing it or we’re going to change course. And so around this, we’ve been talking to the states that we’re working with about what should the metrics be. NGA is not going to tell.

states what their metrics should be. We’re going to talk with them, especially their HR professionals, which is a new group of state officials for me to engage with. I’m so excited to get to know so many of them. There is a, just if people were not aware, because I was not aware, there’s a group called the National Association of State Personnel Executives, NASPY, which is the national organization for the people who sit at these CHRO positions, these.

you know, chief HR positions. And then they also have what is essentially their shirm, which is called PASHRA, which is the Public Sector HR Association. I believe I got that right. It is.


Matthew Sterenberg (22:54.254)

That’s a lot of acronyms. That’s a lot of, if you’re following at home, just Google. And there’s an organization for everything is what I’ve learned in my job. But anyways.


Amanda Winters (22:58.948)

I know, Google them. There is.


Amanda Winters (23:07.076)

Yeah, 100%. So I am a half of my job right now is getting to know these people and figuring out what their perspective is and also figuring out how the governor’s office can leverage them. And, you know, these professionals who sit in your administration, how can they help implement your vision? This doesn’t sit in education. This doesn’t sit in the workforce. This sits in.

you know, offices of personnel, this, you know, sits in their offices of management and budget. So this is a new space for us to explore and a new sort of lever for governors that they’re really, I think, figuring out how these people can be a part of their larger priority and vision rather than just mainly focused on, you know, compliance or process. They really are, have to be a part of the strategic,

plan development for talent development within certain states. And we’re seeing some states really lean into that. And it’s exciting to see. And I think what’s great about the public sector too is that they have to be transparent. There are laws. You have to be able to see into all these processes that states are doing. And that’s great because a bunch of the stuff of the private sector is under a proprietary black box. So they can just, you know,

They have the freedom to say, trust me, I’m doing skills -based hiring. But they don’t have to release any of the information about what they’re doing or how they’re assessing skills. Whereas a state, the public sector has to. They have to say, OK, here’s the process of what we’re doing. Here’s what we do first. And this is what’s happening. And here’s our data. And in most cases, like me as a state worker, you could Google my salary in any of the jobs I was in.

It was just, it was sort of an excess of transparency. And I think that’s what’s needed right now in the skills space is what are you trying? We know we don’t have best practices yet. We have promising practices. We have, you know, cool opportunities, but tied to that is the data. And so we’ve been leaning in a bit with the Burning Glass Institute as a data partner for us. They’re doing a landscape scan of essentially where states are right now.


Amanda Winters (25:31.172)

And this is not meant to shame any states for not doing certain things. This is just essentially to say, how can we measure into the future? What’s happening on a state level around skills -based hiring efforts? So where are we at now? Specifically, we’re very interested in those states who have executive orders around removal of the bachelor’s degree requirement. But also there’s lots of other states who don’t have that kind of move that are also implementing.

some really cool efforts around skills -based hiring. So we’re trying to see where we at now so that in a year we can say this is some of the progress. And I think in these early stages it’s important to point out that some of this progress is going to be policy development. It’s not necessarily going to be like a thousand people got hired in this new pathway. It’s going to be like these policies changed. You know, this was implemented.

This was reduced, this was increased. It’s gonna be very like early stage and I feel like we need to celebrate those and not look for the things that are actually gonna come two or three years from now.


Matthew Sterenberg (26:39.182)

Well, put yourself in the shoes of someone who doesn’t talk about credentialing all day and okay, bachelor’s degree not required. I don’t have my bachelor’s degree, let’s say. Okay, great. But they list out all of these skills and competencies that are required for the role. Well, how do I demonstrate that? Well, for a normal person, they’ve never heard of micro credential or other types of badges or what. So how do I get those? How do I prove that I know that?

There are so many different layers to this where, again, we’re so close to it that I think we sometimes are like, all right, we’re solving one problem. You know, it’s like plugging one hole and the water comes out somewhere else. It’s like, yeah. And for those people that, I did just Google Amanda’s salary when she was a state employee and it is a lot. I mean, it was a lot. I mean, for those of you listening, it was exorbitant. No, I’m just joking.


Amanda Winters (27:32.036)

I got paid so much money. I love it.


Matthew Sterenberg (27:39.15)

but yeah, that’s like this, it is a newer conversation. I think we have, I think a healthy impatience with it to a degree where we’re like, we got to move fast. Like we’ve got these problems to solve, but I look at it as almost like a progression of the Lumina foundation came out with their, we want 60 % of adults with a credential by, you know, what are 2030. And that was kind of the start in my mind of like this.

intense focus because we know that credentials matter, their currency. And then we’re kind of shifting to, well, is it the credential itself or what you learn when you’re obtaining that credential? Right. And I think that, okay, that makes sense, but it’s just a shift now. And I think that’s why we’ve had this system for so long is because if you say you have your bachelor’s PhD or you went to Harvard, it’s a little lazy in a sense, but


Amanda Winters (28:11.172)

Mm -hmm.


Matthew Sterenberg (28:35.277)

I just make assumptions about who you are and what you know. And sometimes that’s just, I’m trying to hire someone really quick, right? I don’t want to do a lot of work. And that’s why we’ve persisted in this system for so long and why it’s also so difficult to change.


Amanda Winters (28:49.764)

Yeah, and I will say proxies are proxies for a reason. They make things easy. It’s not just saying something is a proxy doesn’t mean it’s bad. So I wanna, and every time we talk to employers, especially private sector employers, but I’m sure public sector feel the same, they say don’t make our assessment process any harder. They’re like, how can we get to some of these things without you over -complicating?


Matthew Sterenberg (28:53.774)



Amanda Winters (29:19.62)

the process and I feel like on the education policy side, we just wanna create all these fricking signals for like, this is like, nobody understands what that is. So you’re gonna create it, you’re gonna feel real good about yourself. But when it goes out past your bubble of sort of your, you know, in the weeds conversations, nobody else understands what that is and they don’t care anything about it. And we have to understand that we are battling,

At the same time we’re trying to open up these doors, we are battling sort of the power of the reputational element of a bachelor’s degree or the reputational element of, you know, graduating from a certain institution. That’s not gonna go away. And I mean, I’m not saying it necessarily should. Yes, I think there’s, you know, undue like emphasis on that as a part of hiring decisions.

But we have to understand a lot of these are people driven decisions and it’s based on what their experience is, what they know. And that’s something that’s not going to change overnight. So the rep, it’s just like when we’re talking about credentials. What I found is as we’re talking about what people mean by quality credentials, we can set up whatever quality frameworks we want. But when it comes right down to it, if you have a micro credential from the University of Michigan Ford School, people don’t care.

the competencies you learned in it, they know that it was from the Ford School and that they value that institution. They think that that’s a reputable institution. And if it’s from another training provider, may have taught you way more than Michigan did and that micro -credential, but they don’t know who that group is. So the valuing and the reputational element of this is, I think, key for the conversation.

And we can’t expect that just to be like, well, these are higher quality and it fits with our framework better. Because that’s what the framework people sound like. And then we’re just supposed to go with it. And like, no, the reality is people don’t know what that means. And so we have to really take this step by step. And hopefully people will start to focus on the skills and competencies that sit behind some of these proxies. But right now,


Matthew Sterenberg (31:24.494)



Amanda Winters (31:44.228)

their access point is what they know. And it’s what they know about the providers. It’s what they know from their experience. So that culture change element of this is going to take years. And it’s not an easy, it’s not an easy, like not an easily surmountable problem. It’s something that we’ll have to grapple with. And I think, you know, states have a lot of opportunity to lean in there and try to, you know, dig into skills as opposed to sort of the, you know, the degrees as

as proxies, but I think a place where we have to start is some of these recognized maybe associates degree earners that have, you know, they have at least they have a degree. They can get in there credentials that are from recognized providers. We have to start there, figure out what the decision points are related to some of those credentials. And then we can start talking about the skills that are maybe self attested.

skills or things that they’ve earned in another position that are somehow validated by other employers or through a work -based learning experience. So there’s layers of this and we have to start with the thing I think that’s easiest for employers to understand and then start digging into the different layers. I don’t think we can expect a leap from here, from where we are now to the ideal.

around skills -based hiring in a short period of time. This is a journey we’re going to have to commit to.


Matthew Sterenberg (33:12.11)

And I think too, we have to, the value add for employers too has to be how does this ecosystem, whatever it is we create, allow me to find and search? So there’s one is like, okay, I post a job and it’s, and we can set up how people can apply differently, right? They don’t necessarily require, you know,

to know that I have a degree or not. But then how do we create some sort of like, and some organizations are doing this like credential engine where we can make public the credentials and the skills and competencies where as an employer, I can make better hiring decisions or I know where to put my headquarters because I see that there’s a lot of people with these skills in this area. So it’s not just about any one job for instance, but like,

Where are the talent pools? And obviously that’s what the governors care about too, is like, how do we be a state that attracts like the headquarters of Toyota or whatever it may be. So I think creating like a marketplace where we understand kind of broadly, not just for I’m hiring for this position, but what’s available and where the needs are. And then it just becomes, you know, Hey, let’s collaborate with our community college. We have this gap. We need to stand up a.

microcredential program or certificate program that meets these needs, that type of thing. So, Amanda, I’ll leave you with the last word. Anything we should know and where can people learn more about the work that you’re doing?


Amanda Winters (34:52.004)

Yeah, certainly we have a bunch of stuff posted on our website at nga .org. We’re continuing to engage deeply in this space. And really, I think what people need to know about the way in which we approach this work is we’re never going to be the 100 % expert on all of these topics. Our job is really to curate the space for states to understand the big issues, the big questions, the opportunities that exist.

and then bring a lot of partners alongside. So our work is centered on partnership. And it’s sort of mine and my team’s job to get out there and talk to people about, you know, what are you offering to states? What’s the technical assistance look like? What have you learned from some of your projects? Where do we need to lean in a bit? Where do states need to learn lessons from the private sector? Where can they get out ahead? So we’re out there learning.

as NGA. So if folks have stuff that they want to share, my email’s on the website. Just email me. I’ll set up a time to talk. Because I really think that if we learn more, that supports better. Governor’s office is getting the help they need quickly in order to implement the change they want to see. But then also, I think just positioning states as also talent pipeline developers and employers in this space.

making sure we can sit at those tables and talk about good jobs together alongside with private sector.


Matthew Sterenberg (37:56.224)

No, it’s not you. It’s me. It’s definitely, well, it’s, it’s happened before this just happened yesterday for the first time where we got booted out. I was like, what can’t have it happen. But anyways, let me queue you up one more time. And then we’ll at least get that. And then we’ll say, thanks. I’ll stop recording. And then I just want to hang out for a few minutes just to make sure that I can check the upload and everything. But yeah. Amanda, thank you so much.

for joining us, really enjoyed our conversation. The thing that I really like about you is that you do step outside the bubble a lot. You’re not just thinking about these very academic conversations, you’re thinking about the practicality, but I want people to be able to find the work that you’re doing. And I’ll give you the last word, where can people learn more about your work?


Amanda Winters (38:48.873)

Yeah, awesome. You can find any of our information about our current projects and some of the past projects I mentioned on nga .org, our website. Also, my email is on the website. So feel free to reach out directly. My work is focused on partnership. We’ll never be the 100 % experts in the space. We rely on trusted partners who are also trying to work in the…

nonpartisan space who are trying to support states and systems to make real change to impact opportunity for different types of communities. And so we want to learn and be informed as much as possible and then take those relationships back to our state teams and the state conversations to tell them about what we’re learning and who might be able to stand beside them in getting this work done.

I really want to make sure that if states are launching this work, it has a real impact. It can be successful. We can measure it. We can figure out how to fund it. We can advance what I think are the vision of governors across the political spectrum to open up opportunity and be a model employer in this space. But it’s going to take a lot of intentional work and a lot of partnership to do that. So I think that’s where we’re sitting now and really a learning space.

and we’d love to learn alongside everybody else. So I’m really glad I got to join the conversation today. And maybe in several months I can come back and tell you all the exciting stuff that states are doing in the skills -based hiring space.


Matthew Sterenberg (40:25.152)

Sounds like a plan. Thanks for joining us.


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