2023 Quarter 3 | The Council of State Governments (CSG) | Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC)

MLC Education and Workforce Development

Committee Newsletter

Co-Chair OH Sen. Hearcel Craig

Co-Chair WI Rep. Joel Kitchens

Vice Chair MN Sen. Heather Gustafson

Upcoming Events

September 26-28, 2023:

CSG South: Masterclass: "Leveraging Learning Loss: A Public Policy Approach" - Atlanta, GA

December 6-9, 2023:

2023 CSG National Conference - Raleigh, NC

July 21-24, 2024:

78th Annual Meeting of the MLC - Columbus, OH

Committee Happenings

Hello members of the Midwestern Legislative Conference (MLC) Education & Workforce Development (EWD) Committee.

Congratulations on your appointment to this newly organized committee, a group that seeks to build off the previous work of the MLC Education and MLC Economic Development Committees.

The primary purpose of the Midwestern Legislative Conference and committees like this one is to encourage an open dialogue among legislators and policymakers from across the region as well as to provide a nonpartisan forum for learning and collaboration.

With this new priority of analyzing the school-to-career pipeline, the goal for this committee will be to hold a forum to discuss the best strategies to prepare young people and adult learners alike for a dramatically changing labor market.

Such discussions first began this summer at the 77th Annual Meeting of the MLC in Detroit. A big thank you to all of you who were able to attend this year; your input was invaluable. 

For those who were not able to attend, the EWD Committee had a opportunity to discuss the latest developments in education and workforce development policies occurring in statehouses across the Midwest, and members were able to identify policy issues they would like the committee to explore in greater depth — including academic remediation, postsecondary barriers, promoting hands-on learning, and providing students with the skills and environment they need help uncover what they want to be when they grow up. 

At this meeting, members also approved the workplan for the biennium, a list of targeted benchmarks that will help guide the committee’s work throughout the next several months. These benchmarks include commitments to hold in-person and webinar meetings, feature developments in education and workforce development policies in various forms of communication (articles, policy briefs, newsletters, etc.), and to collaborate with other MLC committees on shared policy areas. 

Finally, the committee has confirmed its officers for the 2023-2024 biennium. After serving as co-chair of the MLC Education Committee, Ohio Sen. Hearcel Craig is returning to serve as co-chair of the MLC Education & Workforce Development Committee. He is joined on the leadership team by Wisconsin Rep. Joel Kitchens, co-chair; and Minnesota Sen. Heather Gustafson, vice chair. 

As we go forward, be on the lookout for upcoming meetings (including a webinar to be held sometime this fall) and professional development opportunities. Updates to these types of events will be shared with you all via email, through quarterly newsletters like this one, and via postings on the Education & Workforce Development Committee webpage

For any questions or comments, always feel free to reach out to CSG Midwest’s lead staffer to this committee, Derek Cantù.

Stateline Midwest Articles

One of two recurring elements that will appear in this quarterly newsletter will be to update you all on the latest education and workforce development related articles featured in Stateline Midwest, a CSG Midwest publication released every other month. 

The most recent article from the July/August edition summarizes the EWD-sponsored plenary session at this year’s Annual Meeting. This session highlighted a public-private partnership program in Michigan that brings together employers from similar industries, workforce strategists, labor representatives, educators, and other partners in order to execute strategies to build talent pipelines and strengthen recruitment and retention efforts. 

  • The article on this Sector Strategies Employer-Led Collaboratives initiative can be found HERE

  • The PowerPoint slides from this meeting can be found HERE

Education & Workforce News

The other recurring element that will appear in each newsletter is a sampling of news stories that have appeared in various outlets describing developments in education and workforce development policies in Midwestern states and provinces. 

If you have any legislative accomplishments that have appeared in the media that you would like shared with this group, please contact Derek Cantù.

Michigan Expands Union Protections for Teachers, Consolidates Agencies

Michigan lawmakers passed a series of measures this session meant to expand collective bargaining rights for teachers. Some of the new changes include allowing districts to automatically withdraw union dues from teacher paystubs, expanding the types of discussions that can be had in a collective bargaining negotiation, and improving out-of-state licensing reciprocity. 

In addition, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer recently reorganized the state’s Department of Education by consolidating early childhood and higher education programs. 

For more information, check out the linked articles by MLive and Chalkbeat-Detroit.

Ontario Commits $160 Million for Free Job Training

Ontario is hoping to provide workforce development training for at least 100,000 people, particularly those who receive social assistance and/or are justice involved. 

A total of $160 million from the province’s Skills Development Fund will be used to provide free training for industry tracks related to health care, information technology, hospitality, auto mechanics and other sectors. 

For more information, check out the linked article by Global News.

Wisconsin Lawmakers Debating Whether to Require Health Education Lessons on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

A legislative proposal is seeking to add Wisconsin to a list of 38 states that have enacted what is known as “Erin’s Law." 

A majority of Wisconsin schools already offer lessons that teach students how to identify signs of and rebuff acts of unwanted physical and sexual behavior, but this proposal calls for curriculum to be tailored to specifically address child abuse detection. 

One goal of the proposal is for children to feel more comfortable reporting cases of abuse to their teachers.

For more information, check out the linked article by Wisconsin Public Radio.

Illinois Passes Law Offering Free School Lunches and Breakfast, But Funding Meals Remains Difficult

Earlier this legislative session, Illinois lawmakers passed the “Healthy School Meals for All Program” that will make school breakfasts and lunches universally free. 

The measure, however, did not include increased state funding and as a result a number of districts still struggle with funding meals, a phenomenon that was only made more difficult once pandemic-related federal funding streams sunset.  

In Minnesota, lawmakers also passed a free breakfast and lunch plan, but included additional state funding.

For additional context into how this affects schools, check out the linked articles by Chalkbeat-Chicago and Axios-Twin Cities.

Thank you for reading. Watch for the next edition to come out in December 2023.

Please do not reproduce or create new content from this material without the prior express written permission of CSG Midwest.
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