States have employed an array of strategies to encourage workforce development including getting students prepared for a career or college and training new and incumbent workers to meet the demands of evolving industries. Economic development policy is often consulted in relation to workforce development and job creation.
Below is a list of resources compiled from all NCSL programs that conduct research on workforce issues and job creation, organized by topic and date.
Send questions about specific topic areas to the designated contact listed below.
States provide support and incentives to attract and grow businesses of all sizes to boost economic activity and to create jobs. As budgets recover, legislators are looking at the effectiveness of these incentives to strengthen the state economy.
Note: This database covers state tax incentives across multiple domains including workforce development. To see incentives that relate only to workforce development, select "job creation or retention" or "job training and workforce development" in the "Incentive Types" search box of the database. Users can also filter results by topic, states and years.
- Economic Development: Better Return with Smart Incentives, Presentation, September 2014
- Promoting Entrepreneurship:Innovations in State Policy, Web Report, July 2014
- The State Role in Rebuilding the Manufacturing Sector, Web Report, July 2014
- "Boosting State Economies," State Legislatures Magazine, July/August 2013
- The Business of Job Creation, Presentation, June 2013
- "Microenterprise Development," NCSL LegisBrief, May 2013
- Evaluating State Tax Incentives for Jobs and Growth, Presentation, June 2013
- "Economic Gardening: A Homegrown Approach to Economic Development," NCSL LegisBrief, October 2009
NCSL Contact: Mandy Rafool
School is where students learn many of the skills needed to succeed in K-12, higher education and in their careers goals. As workforce needs shift, education systems are aligning their programs to meet the needs of industries so that students graduate with the qualifications to fill available jobs.
- Competency-Based Higher Education, LegisBrief, October 2016
- Financial Aid in Higher Education, Web Report, September 2015
- Workforce Development Initiatives: Collaborating to Prepare for the Jobs of the Future, Web Report, July 2014
- Connections Through the Education Pipeline to Career, Presentation, June 2013
- K-12, College, and Workforce: Improving Connections in the Education Pipeline, Web Report and Interview, May 2013
- "The Rise of Career Academies," NCSL LegisBrief, October 2013
- Building Community, Web Report, January 2010
NCSL Contact: Education Program
NCSL Labor and Economic Development Committee
The NCSL Labor and Economic Development covers state and federal issues related to labor, employment, workforce, economic development and international trade. The committee educates Congress and federal agencies about state concerns related to federal actions that impact the states based on policy positions adopted by the states through NCSL's policy process. In addition, the Committee serves as a forum for legislators and legislative staff to learn about and share information about policy options being considered in states. The Department of Labor, United States Trade Representative, the Small Business Administration, Department of Commerce and Housing and Urban Development work with the committee and are examples of federal agencies that aim to strengthen the nation’s economy through business and workforce initiatives.
NCSL Contacts: Jon Jukuri and Jackson Brainerd
State policymakers play key roles in health care workforce issues, such as creating and funding programs to address shortages in underserved areas, funding and crafting laws related to health information technology initiatives (i.e., telehealth, electronic medical records and more), determining the licensure and scope of practice for health professions.
- Scope of Practicy Policy webpage, Website produced by NCSL and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to educate state policymakers about scope of practice issues related to nurse practitioners, physician assistants and midlevel oral health providers, Launched December 2016
- Health Care Workforce: Increasing Diversity to Meet Your State’s Needs, NCSL Webinar, August 2014
- Best Practices for Improving Cultural Competency in the Health Care Workforce, NCSL Webinar, May 2013
- Primary Care Workforce: Health Care Safety-Net Toolkit for Legislators, Web Report, 2013
- Scope of Practice Overview, Web Report, 2013
- Meeting the Primary Care Needs of Rural America, Web Report, 2013
- State Coverage for Telehealth Services, Web Report, 2014
NCSL Contacts: Richard Cauchi
Human Services | Public Assistance
Over the past two decades, state and federal reforms transformed welfare programs to incorporate work requirements and other employment-related services. State legislatures have flexibility to create work-focused programs that not only require individuals receiving assistance to participate in work or training activities, but also provide additional supports such as child care and transportation. Some states are targeting noncustodial parents in order to increase their earnings and improve their ability to make child support payments.
NCSL Contact: Human Services Program
Industries are in need of skilled workers throughout the nation. States are partnering with business and nonprofits to help upgrade the skills of current workers and train potential workers for available jobs.
- 2016 Workforce Development Enactments, Web Report, March 2017
- Assisting Veterans with Employment, LegisBrief, October 2016
- 2015 Workforce Development Enactments, Web Report, January 2016
- 2015 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Enactments, Legislative Database, November 2015
- WIOA: The Opportunity for Innovation in the States, Webinar, June 2015
- Workforce Enactments 2014, Web Report, November 2014
- Making Workforce Data Work, Presentation, September 2014
- Ex-Offender Employment Opportunities, Bulletin, January 2014
- Workforce Enactments 2013, Web Report, December 2013
- "Giving Veterans Hiring Preference," NCSL LegisBrief, October 2013
- Maryland Featured State Profile: EARN Program, Web Report, September 2013
- 2011 Workforce Development Legislation, Web Report, December 2011
NCSL Contacts: Children and Families Program
Employing People with Disabilities
In the states and territories, employment rates and educational achievement rates for people with disabilities continue to trail the rates for individuals without disabilities. State and local government recognizes the need to address these issues through policy with creativity, resolve and commitment to their constituents with disabilities. State legislatures are working to increase employment of people with disabilities through a variety of policy approaches.
NCSL Contact: Josh Cunningham