Monday, November 1, 2021 - 10:02 am

The National Governors Association announced today that North Dakota and five other states were selected for the second phase of NGA’s Workforce Innovation Network (NGA WIN), in which states will deploy cross-agency teams to identify and implement strategies that advance digital skill development and more equitable economic participation.

In response to the impacts of accelerated trends in automation and digital transformation on work, workers and workplaces, NGA WIN will award Hawaiʻi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island up to $100,000 each and provide technical assistance to help state teams ensure all individuals have the digital skills needed to participate in work, education or training. The NGA Center will collaborate with NGA WIN advisors to deliver technical assistance and best practice resources to participating states through June 2022.

“North Dakota’s workforce shortage remains the No. 1 barrier to economic growth in our state, and joining the NGA’s Workforce Innovation Network will help us ensure that North Dakotans have the digital skills they need to enter the workforce, pursue education or seek training opportunities,” Gov. Doug Burgum said. “We’re grateful to NGA WIN for selecting North Dakota as one of six states to participate in the second phase of this important initiative.”

The NGA Center will provide subgrants and technical assistance to the states with support from NGA WIN founding sponsor, the Cognizant Foundation, and additional sponsors Intel, Microsoft, Western Governors University and Walmart, the latest addition to the growing coalition of NGA WIN partners and supporters.

Each state team – consisting of representatives from governors’ offices, workforce development agencies and state workforce boards, and other state agencies – will work collaboratively toward a state vision for closing digital equity and workforce achievement gaps by advancing digital skill development. States will leverage tools such as the Digital Equity Scorecard – developed by NGA WIN advisors at the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, National Skills Coalition and Microsoft – to gather new data on skill gaps and develop plans to address gaps in priority industries, geographies and demographics.

“Governors are leading with creative solutions to help workers and job seekers access the tools they need to succeed in a rapidly changing economy, and NGA is honored to support them,” said Timothy Blute, director of the NGA Center. “We look forward to working with these six states to help them develop and implement strategies to improve access to the digital skills that are increasingly essential to both workers and businesses.”

An initiative of the NGA Center’s Workforce Development and Economic Policy Program, NGA WIN was founded in January in partnership with the Cognizant Foundation as a nonpartisan action collaborative for state leaders committed to building an inclusive and resilient workforce. In March, NGA WIN awarded 10 states each up to $100,000 and provided their multi-agency state teams with customized technical assistance to improve employment outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19 by connecting job seekers to work, education or training opportunities and essential support services. Case studies and best practices from this first round of NGA WIN state grants will be published later this year.

Since its launch, NGA WIN has secured additional partnerships with Microsoft, Intel, Western Governors University and Walmart, and has welcomed more than 20 new philanthropic supporters, subject matter experts, practitioners and industry leaders to assist governors and state leaders in their workforce innovation efforts through grants and technical assistance provided by the network. 

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s 55 governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.