Press release

Skillful State Network Grows to 26 States

Sponsored by Businesswire

The Skillful State Network, a Markle Foundation initiative, today
announced its expansion to 26 member states. The governors of
California, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota,
Missouri, and Pennsylvania have joined the founding states in the
Network’s efforts to create a labor market in which skills learned
anywhere are valued and people can rapidly and affordably access the
information and training needed for good jobs in the digital economy.
Entering its second year, the Skillful State Network fosters
collaboration among innovative governors from states large and small,
coast to coast and across the political spectrum. The governors in the
Skillful State Network have made workforce development a state priority
and are committed to acting on proven practices that enable their
residents and employers to thrive.

“The Skillful State Network acts on the urgent need for leadership to
bring the talent of Americans into the rapidly changing digital economy.
Governors are joining together to break down the barriers keeping too
many people from finding good careers,” said Zoë Baird, CEO and
President of the Markle Foundation. “With bipartisan gubernatorial
leadership from 26 states across the country, we are giving people
greater power in the labor market to pursue rewarding careers.”

“Workforce development is a top priority for Indiana’s Next Level
agenda, and collaborating with the Skillful State Network advances our
efforts to transform the labor market to meet current and future needs
for high-wage, in-demand jobs,” said Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb,
one of the founding Network members. “This transformation begins at home
and includes providing states the tools they need, such as flexible
funding options for education and training. Together, we’ll unleash
opportunity for individuals to secure industry-validated credentials and
become part of our workforce pipeline. I am excited to work with my
fellow governors in finding ways to support America’s workers and
businesses in staying strong, resilient and competitive in the 21st
century economy.”

The Skillful State Network launched in 2018 to drive transition to labor
markets in which skills are valued as well as degrees, and people can
access the tools and build the skills necessary to thrive in today’s
digital economy. Members share innovative ideas and proven practices
each can adopt to achieve workforce goals and growth, for example,
effectively aligning education with industry; providing robust data on
skills needed to jobseekers; and training employers on skills-based
practices to find talent from other sectors or with informal training.
The Network is enabling a systems-level change in the labor market.

Skillful State Network Members
Arkansas   Gov. Hutchinson
California Gov. Newsom
Colorado Gov. Polis
Connecticut Gov. Lamont
Delaware Gov. Carney
Illinois Gov. Pritzker
Indiana Gov. Holcomb
Kansas Gov. Kelly
Kentucky Gov. Bevins
Massachusetts Gov. Baker
Michigan Gov. Whitmer
Minnesota Gov. Walz
Missouri Gov. Parson
Montana Gov. Bullock
New Jersey Gov. Murphy
North Carolina Gov. Cooper
North Dakota Gov. Burgum
Ohio Gov. DeWine
Pennsylvania Gov. Wolf
Rhode Island Gov. Raimondo
Tennessee Gov. Lee
Utah Gov. Herbert
Vermont Gov. Scott
Virginia Gov. Northam
Washington Gov. Inslee
Wisconsin Gov. Evers

For more information about member state

involvement, quotes from the

governors and examples
of workforce

initiatives, please visit



The Network is grounded in Skillful’s work in Colorado and Indiana,
where Skillful works directly to align the efforts of the state,
employers, educators, and local workforce boards behind a mutually
reinforcing strategy. Drawing on its on-the-ground operations, Skillful
produced the Skillful
State Playbook
, a step-by-step guide to help states build a
skills-based labor market, which includes tools and resources for
implementation. One signature initiative currently operating in Colorado
and Indiana, the Skillful Coaching Corps (SCC), is an upskilling program
for career coaches. Applying tools and training from the Corps, coaches
are better equipped to help job seekers and incumbent workers learn what
skills are in demand and how to demonstrate or obtain those skills. The
Skillful State Network continues to draw key learnings and practices
from Skillful Colorado and Skillful Indiana, and supports transformation
at a scale and pace not possible through individual state actions alone.

“We are thrilled to welcome the eight new member states to the Skillful
State Network, as well as the newly elected governors from founding
member states Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The
importance of this issue and the value of the Network transcends changes
in administration and even party,” said Beth Cobert, CEO of Skillful.
“Workforce development is a nonpartisan issue as every state confronts
helping workers transition to digital economy jobs. These new voices
will strengthen this already forward-thinking group in this our second

Network members will continue to share assets, foster partnerships, and
hone methods of engagement within their labor markets. The free and
public availability of the Skillful State Playbook supports the open
sharing of key learnings and practices. Skillful State Network members
may draw from and contribute tools to the Playbook.

All interested states are invited to join the Network by contacting Skillful
CEO Beth Cobert at,
(212) 713-7633.

Download the Skillful State Playbook here.

Find more information about Skillful here.

About Skillful

Skillful, a non-profit initiative of the Markle Foundation, is dedicated
to enabling all Americans – particularly those without a four-year
college degree – to secure good jobs in a changing economy. Skillful, in
partnership with Microsoft, is developing skills-based training and
employment practices in collaboration with state governments, local
employers, educators and workforce development organizations. With its
partners, Skillful is working to create a labor market in which skills
are valued, and people can more easily access the information and
education they need to keep pace with technology’s impact on work.
Skillful currently operates in two states, Skillful Colorado and
Skillful Indiana, bringing investment, training, tools and innovative
methods to augment local workforce development efforts. It formed and
facilitates the Skillful State Network, a collaboration among 26 state
governors to accelerate the development and deployment of effective
skills-based practices to transform their labor markets. Skillful is
grateful for support provided by Lumina Foundation and Walmart, and its
partnerships with the states of Colorado and Indiana, Purdue University
and Purdue Extensions and many great local organizations committed to
strengthening their local workforce and creating better opportunities
for all.

About The Markle Foundation

The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to
achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing
issues. Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their
varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change.
Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of
work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions toward a skills-based
labor market that will enable Americans to transition to the
opportunities of the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives
include Skillful and
the Rework
America Task Force
. They follow Markle’s success in creating policy
and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare,
national security and access to the Internet. For more information,
follow @MarkleFdn and @ReworkAmerica on
Twitter, and read our book, America’s