Indiana Among Founding States to Address Workforce Opportunities Through Launch of the Skillful State Network

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Indiana Among Founding States to Address Workforce Opportunities Through Launch of the Skillful State Network

Governors of 20 founding member states including Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb join together to form new coalition of best practices in creating a more skilled workforce.


INDIANAPOLIS (Feb. 15, 2018) — Twenty governors have joined together to form the Skillful State Network, a collaboration to transform the U.S. labor market into one that is skills-based, in which people can demonstrate or obtain skills needed for good digital economy jobs. The Network marks the national expansion of Skillful, a Markle Foundation initiative, which leverages data and the very technologies disrupting the economy to achieve a skills-based labor market where employers are able to find the talent they need and individuals can continuously acquire new skills and keep up with the pace of change. Founding governors are committed to sharing what works and have made partnership and innovation in workforce development a state priority to enable their residents and local employers to thrive in the digital economy.

Indiana has been on the cutting edge of workforce development through training initiatives such as NextLevel Jobs and Innovation Networks, and a variety of programs including Jobs for America’s Graduates, the Hoosier Initiative for Re-Entry, Indiana Adult Education, WorkINdiana, along with assistance for veterans and Hoosiers with disabilities.

“Our focus in Indiana is preparing our workforce for jobs available now and in the years to come,” Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “Sharing workforce practices among Skillful State Network members and encouraging multiple pathways to success in a changing economy will strengthen our talent pool, meet employer demand and put hardworking Hoosiers in high-need, high-wage careers of the future.”

The other 19 Skillful State Network founding states include Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Millions of Americans need to get connected to the skills and the jobs of our fast-changing digital economy,” said Zoe Baird, CEP and president of the Markle Foundation. “The Skillful State Network was born out of the tremendous interest we’ve received from other states. Governors have asked me to bring Skillful to their state and forming the Skillful State Network is a way to share our approach, tools and assets quickly. It also allows all of us to build on the great work being done in these states. States have always been laboratories for innovation and today are leading the transformation to the digital economy.”

The Skillful State Playbook, introduced today with the Network, lays out the steps needed to create a skills-based labor market. The Playbook offers tools and resources jointly developed by Skillful, the state of Colorado, and numerous employers, tech companies including Microsoft and LinkedIn, educators, and community organizations. The free and public availability of the Skillful State Playbook establishes a model for the open sharing of best practices. Skillful State Network members may tailor or improve tools in the Playbook and add their own tools and resources to the Network’s portfolio.

The Skillful State Network will support transformation at a scale and pace not possible through individual state actions. The Network will elevate and advance practices and ideas that states can adopt to achieve their workforce goals, including aligning education with industry; providing robust data to jobseekers; or training employers on skills-based practices. The Network is open to all interested states.

“In just our formative conversations, I am so inspired by the variety of programs as well as cutting-edge pilots each Skillful State Network member is bringing to the table,” said Beth Cobert, CEO of Skillful. “Each state is unique, yet shares a commitment to collaboration, experimentation, and progress.”

Skillful State Network members will have the opportunity to:

  • access the Skillful State Network portfolio of tools and data
  • learn how to implement the tools and assets featured in the Skillful State Playbook
  • share and learn from the unique insights drawn from each other’s efforts
  • foster innovative partnership opportunities
  • hone methods of engagement within their labor markets
  • receive advisory support from Skillful staff
  • gain access to Markle’s cross-sector network of national leaders and partners

For more information on the Skillful State Network, go here.

Download the Skillful State Network national press release here.

Find more information about Skillful here.

For media inquiries, please contact DWD Communications Director Dave Shatkowski at (317) 234-7671, or Markle Foundation’s Claudia Husemann at (917) 536-5370 or Mary Allen at (212) 713-7632.


About the Indiana Department of Workforce Development

DWD serves the worker and the employer to ensure workplace success. DWD is committed to innovating and invigorating Indiana’s economic future by providing WorkOne Career Centers, Unemployment Insurance, Labor Market Information, Regional Workforce Strategies and Professional Training. Through these services, DWD is able to develop a premier workforce that enables Indiana employers to flourish and entices businesses from outside our state to relocate to Indiana.

About the Markle Foundation

The Markle Foundation works to realize the potential of technology to achieve breakthroughs in addressing some of the nation’s most pressing issues. Working as an operating foundation, Markle challenges itself and diverse partners to deploy their varied expertise to identify solutions and achieve systemic change. Today as advanced technology and automation change the very nature of work, Markle’s priority is advancing solutions towards a skills-based labor market that will enable Americans to transition to the opportunities of the digital economy. Markle’s workforce initiatives include Skillful and the Rework America Task Force. They follow Markle’s success in creating the policy and technology architecture that has enabled improvements in healthcare, national security, and access to the Internet.

About Skillful

Skillful, a non-profit initiative of the Markle Foundation, is working to achieve a skills-based labor market to help millions of Americans overcome barriers to obtaining better-paying jobs in today’s digital economy.  Skillful helps employers achieve the workforce they need by providing data, tools, and resources that enable the adoption of skills- based hiring and training practices. Coaches and digital services enable job seekers to learn what skills are in demand and access training at any stage of their career. At the same time, Skillful aligns employers and educators so that their training programs teach the skills required to succeed in today’s economy.

For additional information, contact:

Dave Shatkowski, 317-234-7671,

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