NCCCS Associate VP of Workforce Strategies attends State Workforce Day Convening at White House with Key Partners

Dr. Andrew Gardner, Associate Vice President of Workforce Strategies at the North Carolina Community College System, was invited to attend the State Workforce Day Convening at the White House on May 3.  
More than 30 workforce leaders representing 12 states convened to share innovative career-connected learning and workforce training efforts in addition to states’ efforts to expand investments in students and workers that lead to good jobs in high-demand sectors. Attendees discussed how state policies are connecting education systems to career pathways, ways they are leveraging federal investments, and how they will pave the way to good jobs. 
“I felt deeply honored and humbled by the opportunity to contribute to the discussion on expanding investments in students and workers. The gathering was a testament to the collaborative spirit among state leaders in advancing workforce development,” Gardner said. “It is crucial that we continue to work together, leveraging federal support and sharing best practices to ensure our workforce is equipped with the skills needed to thrive in the 21st-century economy.” 
All attendees were asked to come prepared to discuss the following:  

  • Describe state-level investments, initiatives, and proposals to remove financial and other barriers to career pathways and job training programs in K-12 education, at community colleges, and beyond, that lead to family sustaining wages; 
  • Federal investments and initiatives to further reduce costs and create access to good jobs; and 
  • Discuss ways for states and the federal government to work together toward these goals. 

Administration officials including Neera Tanden, Director of the Domestic Policy Council, and Mala Adiga, Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Policy for the First Lady, heard from leaders about model programs to lower costs, expand quality job training for students and workers, and better connect education and workforce systems. 
“Listening to leaders from various states share about their innovative programs was inspiring, but I was happy to brag about North Carolina’s strong dual enrollment programs that seamlessly integrate students into the workforce,” Gardner said. “We must leverage federal funds and forge robust private-public partnerships to accelerate workforce training programs.” 
Gardner attended the event with Andrea DeSantis of the N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions and Kristie VanAuken of the N.C. Department of Public Instruction. 

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