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Nevada will receive grant to boost workforce recovery

Nevada has been selected as one of the inaugural states in the Workforce Innovation Network, the National Governors Association and Cognizant U.S. Foundation announced Tuesday.

The state, one of nine selected, will receive a grant to improve employment outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19, connecting job seekers to training, education, job opportunities and essential support services.

The Workforce Innovation Network is designed to help states build capacity for near-term innovation and longer-term strategies to prepare their workforces for a post-COVID-19 economy. The network serves as a nonpartisan learning and action collaborative for state leaders who have demonstrated strong commitments to building a resilient workforce.

In this first round of grants, states will receive support developing a state action plan and policy recommendations to develop or scale innovations that increase employment and deliver stronger workforce outcomes; up to $100,000 in grant funding to support personnel and project coordination to carry out state innovations; and virtual or in-person site visits and regular coaching calls from NGA Center staff, as well as national experts and consultants to meet individual state needs and priorities.

Nevada’s application was developed by the Governor’s Office of Workforce Innovation in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the Office of Science, Innovation &Technology, the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the Nevada System of Higher Education and the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services. The application included a focus on launching Job Force, a new initiative to coordinate state, local, nonprofit and private job training and placement assets for improved service delivery to job seekers.

“This is great news for the state of Nevada as we continue our recovery efforts,” Gov. Steve Sisolak said. “I am grateful to the National Governors Association and the Cognizant U.S. Foundation for selecting Nevada as one of nine states for this grant and allowing us to be part of the Inaugural Workforce Innovation Network Cohort. This grant will help further reinforce our state’s commitment to developing our workforce, providing essential training services and further expanding employment opportunities for the residents of our great state.”

To receive the grants and qualify as a member of the network, states submitted proposals focused on the creation of new, unified virtual service delivery platforms, digital inclusion and skill development strategies and equitable access to high-quality work opportunities via the adoption of new state job quality and self-sufficiency standards.

“Even as governors work to defeat COVID-19 in their states and territories by making vaccines available to millions, they recognize that the effects of the pandemic on their workforces are far-reaching and, in some cases, may be permanent,” said Timothy Blute, director of the NGA Center. “The effects of the pandemic have been disparate across sectors of society and the workforce, necessitating partnerships among governmental leaders, business and civic communities.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, January job gains in professional and business services and in both public and private education were offset by losses in leisure and hospitality, in retail trade, in health care and in transportation and warehousing. These latest trends underscore the importance of breaking down traditional silos in training and service delivery and working collaboratively to advance an equitable and inclusive recovery, particularly for workers in sectors most negatively affected by COVID-19.

“Governors have already begun to address high unemployment with innovative policies and practices to more rapidly connect job seekers with the services and supports needed for success in the workforce,” said Kristen Titus, executive director of Cognizant U.S. Foundation. “These Workforce Innovation Fund grants will help the states in this inaugural cohort build on early innovations and expand capacity to coordinate cross-agency economic recovery efforts.

“We look forward to seeing Nevada’s accomplishments.”

In the coming months, the network will gather governors, states and external partners to learn more about how states are aligning their reskilling, re-employment and recovery strategies with longer-term trends and the future of work.

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