Topic: Workforce and Education


Education and the Workforce
Trends, Readiness and Preparation

A thriving workforce is at the heart of SREB’s mission to improve education and help states build robust economies.

Technology promises seismic shifts in the jobs of tomorrow. SREB is committed to helping state leaders find solutions to the challenge of preparing children, youth and adults for a changing workplace.

Recent SREB commissions have addressed how schools and colleges can prepare students for the world of work. Our analysts monitor data on educational attainment and workforce trends, and our school improvement programs help schools adopt high-quality career pathways.

Blog post Natalee JonesPolicy Analyst

SREB Region Lags Behind in New Skills Report

In the new Coursera Global Skills Report, the United States ranked 78 out 100 countries on job skills observed from Coursera’s learner base. The three job-relevant skill domains compared in the report were business, technology and data science.

Publication October 202036 pages

Partnerships to Align Education and Careers
Report of the Commission on Strategic Partnerships for Work-Ready Students

This commission report offers a vision of education connected to local careers and shows how to make it a reality through partnerships and policy. With 11 recommendations to help states build strategic industry sector partnerships, the report covers policies, funding and building the capacity of educators. It also spotlights innovative solutions from around the nation. 




Help Businesses Prepare Workers to Fill Critical Positions
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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In the fourth webinar in the Bouncing Back From Covid Using Education and Workforce Dollars series, SREB presenters discussed how state leaders can help businesses upskill new and longer-term employees to fill positions critical to the state’s economic recovery. SREB also spotlighted how states can address issues of equity and braid multiple funding sources to support this work. Leaders in Indiana shared their exemplary efforts in this area. 


Make Education and Training Programs More Tech Savvy and Flexible
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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In the fifth webinar in the Bouncing Back from COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars series, SREB presenters shared strategies for readying workers to succeed in workplaces that are increasingly technology dependent. They also discussed how education and training programs can leverage technology and flexible formats so they can maintain programs when traditional formats are not practical. 


Connect Emergency Responses To Longer-term Workforce Efforts
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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The sixth webinar in the Bouncing Back from COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars series covered how state leaders can ensure that their short-term emergency measures to address COVID-19 contribute toward achieving the state’s long-term vision for a thriving workforce and healthy economy. Presentations highlighted Alabama’s work in this area and included ways to align ESSA, Perkins V, WIOA, CARES Act and state and grant dollars.


Help Low-Skilled Adults Earn Credentials for Critical Jobs
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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The second webinar in the Bouncing Back From Covid Using Education and Workforce Dollars series explores how states can help workers with low skills earn the credentials they need to secure and succeed at jobs critical to the state’s economic recovery. SREB presenters discussed strategies for targeting grants to individuals and postsecondary institutions and for addressing issues of equity. 


Help Students Earn Credentials to Fill Critical Jobs
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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The third webinar in the Bouncing Back From Covid Using Education and Workforce Dollars series covers strategies to help students gain postsecondary knowledge and skills to fill jobs critical to the state’s economic recovery. SREB presenters explored strategies for strengthening dual enrollment programs and helping new graduates maintain their educational momentum even when families struggle to afford tuition.


Gauge Workforce Frequently, Prioritize Action Together
Bouncing Back From COVID-19 Using Education and Workforce Dollars

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Presenters made the case for analyzing data in rapid cycles to identify actions to spark workforce improvements and keep an eye on equity. The webinar covered partners to engage, including industry-sector partnerships, and spotlights how states can braid multiple federal and state funding sources for the work. 

Publication May 202020 pages

Designing a Ready Workforce
Opportunities for state leaders to align ESSA, Perkins V and WIOA funds

To support states as they finalize their new Perkins V and WIOA plans and consider updates to their ESSA plans, SREB reviewed a sample of states’ existing plans and identified six ways states have missed opportunities in the past to align work funded by the three federal statutes.  For each missed opportunity, SREB provides questions for policymakers to consider and gives examples from states of well-aligned plans.  

Publication June 20198 pages19E05

The SREB Region’s Economic Outlook
The Potential Impact of Automation and AI

As companies continue to incorporate new technologies, making machine learning and robotics common in almost all workplaces, more and more working adults need to adapt to computerized work activities. Many need to move into new jobs raising their skill levels, or they will be out of a job altogether. This policy brief examines the ways automation and artificial intelligence will impact the workforce and encourages states and industry leaders to act quickly to prepare employees for the workplace transformations.


Publication September 2019 | 8 pages
report  cover

Workforce-Driven Financial Aid: Policies and Strategies
Essential Elements of State Policy For College Completion

The rapidly evolving workplace has created a shortage of skilled and educated workers in many fields, leaving essential jobs unfilled and millions of adults unqualified for them. This policy brief summarizes statewide strategies to support financial assistance for students in programs designed to address workforce needs. It includes suggestions for states that are evaluating, or considering creating, workforce-driven financial aid policies.


Blog post Meagan Crowe SREB Policy Analyst

Effective Adult Education Programs: A Challenge for States

States face an uphill battle in meeting the needs of adult learners, especially at a time when technology is advancing rapidly. Adults can turn to adult education programs to improve their skills, but enrollments have fallen in recent years.

Blog post Meagan CroweSREB Policy Analyst

Adapting Education, Keeping Pace with Automation

Technology is advancing at unprecedented rates. Though there have been grand transformations in information technologies, including computers, cell phones, automated services and customer-facing machines, these changes will likely be dwarfed by others in the coming decades. Automated vehicles and artificial intelligence have the capacity to reshape not only our workforce but our social and political systems. Machine learning will create work tasks in the future that can only be imagined today.

Publication June 201919 pages

Three Federal Statutes, One State Plan
Coordinating ESSA, Perkins V and WIOA to address rapidly evolving education and workforce needs

This policy brief examines strategies to align state plans for three federal statutes, the Every Student Succeeds Act, Perkins V and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, to address rapidly evolving education and workforce needs and the steps states can take to streamline their K-12, CTE and workforce development systems.

Publication February 28, 2019

A Unified Statewide Vision
Aligning ESSA, Perkins V and WIOA Across the Lifespan

The reauthorization of three federal statutes — the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, the Every Student Succeeds Act and Perkins V — has given states the chance, and an unprecedented flexibility, to align all three in powerful ways. This brief includes questions that state legislators and other policymakers can ask to determine how to best implement them as one coherent system.



Adult Education Attainment

SREB Fact Book Table 7

High school diploma, bachelor’s degree, 25 to 44 years, broken out by race/ethnicity and gender, 50 states and four regions

Publication October 2018

More Unprepared Than We Thought
Adult educational attainment

Low-skilled workers are being left behind as technology shifts the workforce toward the middle-skills level. Educators and policymakers will need to reach these adults with education and training to fill plentiful, well-paying middle-skill jobs in their states. This fact sheet summarizes trends and state policy concerns.



Postsecondary Attainment Goals
in SREB States

State 2019
Attainment Level
Goal By
Alabama 45.1% Add 500,000 high-skilled employees  2025
Arkansas 43.6% 60% 2025
Delaware 47.9% none none
Florida 52.8% 55% 2025
Georgia 52.8% 60% 2025
Kentucky 49.4% 60% 2030
Louisiana 48.1% 60% 2030
Maryland 55.9% 55% 2025
Mississippi 44.4% Reach the national attainment level average 2025
North Carolina 52.1% Ensure that 2 million, age 25 to 44, have earned a postsecondary degree or credential 2030
Oklahoma 46.5% 70% 2025
South Carolina 47.6% 60% 2025
Tennessee 46.8% 55% 2025
Texas 47.9% 60% of adults ages 25-34 2030
Virginia 57.4% 70% 2030
West Virginia 42.6% 60% 2030

Blog post Gene Bottoms, SREB senior vice president

Inspiring Students to Explore STEM with SREB’s Advanced Career Courses
How AC’s nine pathways connect classrooms, college and the careers of the future

As you know, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are in high demand in today’s fast-paced, technology-driven economy. Leading employers prize job candidates with strong communication and teamwork skills who anticipate workplace problems and can apply literacy, math and technical know-how to solve them. (Learn more in this Business Roundtable report).

Publication Tim Shaughnessy May 201717 pages(17V12)
Beginning the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in High School - Report Cover

Beginning the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in High School
How Kentucky Created a 120-Credit Hour Nursing Career Pathway

Beginning the Bachelor of Science in Nursing in High School: How Kentucky Created a 120-Credit Hour Nursing Career Pathway describes how SREB spent a year working with a coalition of Kentucky educators and health-care employers to develop a seamless sequence of courses and credentials that help students transition from high school to community and technical college programs, the BSN and employment as nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNs).


Publication November 2016 | 48 pages | (16V22)

Bridging the Computer Science Education Gap
Five actions states can take

The Report of the SREB Commission on Computer Science and Information Technology

SREB’s Commission on Computer Science and Information Technology offers five actions for states and schools to help more young people — especially girls, black and Hispanic students, and students from low-income families — learn computer science and explore and choose careers in computing fields.

Publication July 9, 2016 | 7 pages | (16V18)Gene Bottoms and Kirsten Sundell

Career Pathways
Accelerating Access to the Middle Class

More and more jobs require some education past high school, yet we are not preparing enough students for college, careers or both. Career pathways from middle and high school through college and into the workplace can accelerate access to the middle class.