Economic Opportunities for Families Meeting


Capitol dome with bronze statueThe National Conference of State Legislatures assists legislators who want to create economic opportunity for America’s families. Since 2003, 362 legislators from 40 states have attended the Family Opportunity Forum, where in concert with their peers, they develop action plans which have resulted in more than 100 legislative actions on policies to boost economic stability. Specific actions target multiple policy areas including workforce development, education, financial services, economic development, human services and tax credits. NCSL’s work on family opportunity is made possible by the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The objectives of this meeting were: 

  • Raise awareness about the economic circumstances and challenges facing America’s families
  • Discuss strategies and policy options that boost self-sufficiency for family finances
  • Create an action plan that bolsters opportunity for working families in your state

Visit the Family Opportunity Project webpage

5:00-7 p.m.

Registration, Reception & Data Walk - A Focus on Family Opportunity


Enjoy refreshments and preview the meeting’s resources while you mingle with other attendees at this social reception. Dinner on your own.

  • Speaker: Senator Toi Hutchinson, NCSL president elect, Illinois Senate
7-8 a.m. Breakfast
8-8:10 a.m. Welcome Remarks: Bill Pound, NCSL, Denver
8:10-8:20 a.m. Program Overview: Rich Williams, NCSL, Denver
8:20-8:50 a.m.

Promoting Opportunity: Strengthening Families & Communities 


Hear about the status of America’s children and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s vision to enhance child well-being, opportunity and economic security.

  • Speaker: Patrick McCarthy, president and chief executive officer,  Annie E. Casey Foundation
8:50-10 a.m.

Our Economy Today


Learn about trends in our economy and how America’s families are faring.

  • Speaker: Bill Emmons, economist & assistant vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis 
10-11:15 a.m.

Innovations in State Workforce Policies 


States can play a crucial role in providing workforce development opportunities that lead to self-sustainability. Learn about an array of policies—including efforts to fill the skills gap, expand access to credentials and provide training specific to employers’ needs—that states are adopting to shape the workforce of tomorrow.

  • Speaker: Chauncy Lennon, managing director of workforce initiatives, JP Morgan Chase
  • Speaker: Brooke DeRenzis, director of national partnerships, National Skills Coalition
  • Speaker: Kenyatta Lovett, executive director, Complete Tennessee 
11:15-11:30 a.m.

State Workforce Partnerships for Apprenticeships


This session focuses on efforts states have engaged in to support apprenticeships and work-based learning.

  • Speaker: Brent Parton, deputy director, New America
  • Speaker: Noel Ginsburg, chief executive officer, Colorado CareerWise 
11:44 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Importance of State Team Time 

  • Speaker: Rich Williams, family economic success program manager, NCSL
  • Speaker: Senator Nancy King, Maryland
1-2 p.m.

Lunch: State Team Time - Session 1

2-3 p.m.

Family Strategies for Asset Development & Financial Literacy (Location: Salon III)


Saving for the future. What are options for states seeking to help families build assets?

  • Speaker: Bill Emmons, economist & assistant vice president, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis
  • Speaker: Carl Rist, senior director, Prosperity Now
  • Speaker: Heather Morton, fiscal program principal, NCSL 
3-3:45 p.m.

Roundtable Discussion: Education for Careers - An Opportunity Lever 


From college and career readiness back through early life, education can have a tremendous impact on opportunity. Participate in this facilitated discussion with your colleagues to share your lessons learned, and challenges faced, in education policy.

  • Facilitator: Michelle Exstrom, education group director, NCSL
  • Speaker: Senator Howard Stephenson, Utah Senate 
3:45-5:15 p.m.

State Team Time – Session 2 

7:30-8:30 a.m. Breakfast
8:45-9 a.m.

Support for Workers and their Families 


Explore policy opportunities that provide support for workers.

  • Speaker: Ron Haskins, senior fellow, Brookings Institute
9-10 a.m.

A Two-Generation Approach to Well-being


Learn from the experiences of a leader in the application of two-generation policies that simultaneously provide work and educational opportunities for parents and early care and learning for children.

  • Speaker: Reggie Bicha, executive director, Colorado Department of Human Services
10-11 a.m.

Tax Support for Workers (EITC, CTC, CDTC) 


Learn about opportunities for low-income families to make the most of their tax returns.

  • Speaker: Michelle Bartusek, director of education & resources, Iowa Center for Economic Success  
  • Speaker: Rich Williams, family economic success program manager, NCSL
11 a.m.-Noon

Working Lunch – Third State Team Time - Session 3

1:15-2:30 p.m.

State Action Plan Reporting 


A representative from your state team will deliver a 5-minute briefing on your state action plan. 

2:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks & Meeting Adjourns