The State’s Workforce Investments – Most Important Things to Know
1. State investments in workforce programs have significantly increased over the past five years. In FY 2023, policymakers increased workforce spending by $214 million (62 percent) over FY 2019 funding levels. Through state budgets alone, a total of $2 billion has been invested in workforce programs between FY 2019 and FY 2023. Policymakers also dedicated over $500 million between the two COVID recovery and economic development bills to support workforce development.
· Funding for individual workforce training investments - programs focused on offering vocational and basic skill training - has increased by $139 million, more than doubling spending over the past five years. Half of the individual workforce programs represent 90 percent of all funding in this category.
2. Coordinating our current workforce system is challenging. MTF has identified 43 workforce-related line items in the budget that are split amongst at least 16 distinct public entities, including state departments and quasi-public agencies. The Workforce Skills Cabinet has been used by past and present administrations to improve coordination, but challenges in the approach to addressing workforce needs persist.
3. Many workforce programs have overlapping policy goals. Several workforce programs highlighted in MTF’s analysis share similar goals, target populations, and approaches. This overlap makes it difficult for the state to lead a coordinated approach and creates challenges for individuals and employers to decide which program is best suited for them to participate in.
4. There is a lack of consistent and reliable data for many programs. There is an overall absence of timely and sufficient data provided on the performance of workforce training programs. Many of these programs either do not have a reporting requirement or do not regularly publish annual reports. When data is collected, it is often not extensive and leads to incomplete conclusions about the program’s efficacy.