Legislators and staff from across the Southern region convened in Atlanta for a policy workshop, titled “Enhancing Workforce Development in the South.” Representatives from eight CSG South states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia – participated in the two-day event.
Organized by the Southern Office of The Council of State Governments (CSG-South), the workshop afforded participants an opportunity to examine state- and region-specific workforce development policy issues, including expanding apprenticeship programs to boost skills and employee readiness; developing safe and effective occupational licensure laws; strengthening workforce readiness and retention in rural areas; and building comprehensive broadband infrastructure to serve all urban and rural areas. Presentations were given by The Council of State Governments’ Center of Innovation and Justice Center, Federation of State Medical Boards, Pineland Telephone Cooperative in Metter, Georgia, Urban Institute, Jobs for the Future, and Consulate General of Switzerland in Atlanta.
In addition to these briefings, participants engaged in scheduled roundtable discussions, allowing them to identify common workforce development concerns, share best practices and obstacles, and review recently enacted legislation. By engaging with peers and subject matter experts, participants deepened their understanding of other states’ efforts and successes, along with existing challenges.
The workshop was hosted by CSG South’s Economic Development, Transportation and Cultural Affairs Committee. The participants included:
- Representative Randall Shedd, Alabama
- Representative Margie Wilcox, Alabama
- Representative Stan Berry, Arkansas
- Representative Chuck Martin, Georgia
- Representative Kenneth Walker, Mississippi
- Senator Adam Pugh, Oklahoma
- Senator Thomas Alexander, South Carolina
- Senator Jeff Yarbro, Tennessee
- Delegate Mark Keam, Virginia
- John Friedenreich, Legislative Fiscal Analyst, Alabama
- Blake Doss, Policy Analyst, Georgia
- Hayley Williams, Senior Policy Analyst, Georgia
- Presentation: David Altstadt, Policy Unit Associate Director, JFF
- Presentation: Dina Klimkina, Program Director, The Council of State Governments
- Presentation: Dustin Durden, Executive Vice President, Pineland Telephone
- Presentation: James Tatum, Policy Analyst, The Council of State Governments
- Presentation: Josh Gaines, Project Manager, The Council of State Governments Justice Center
- Presentation: Lisa Robin, Chief Advocacy Officer, Federation of State Medical Boards
- Presentation: Peter Zimmerli, Consul General, Switzerland
- Presentation: Zach Boren, Senior Program Manager, Urban Institute