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Workforce

State and local governments face a tight labor market and a competitive disadvantage with the private sector. But salaries aren’t the only issue, with cities, counties and states all grappling with training, retention, remote work and increased union activity.

The state’s Board of Education agreed to require high schoolers to take and pass stand-alone classes on financial literacy and college and career preparation to graduate, starting with this fall’s sophomores.
From cars to school buses to battery manufacturing, no state can match Georgia's corporate investments. They’re making a real impact in communities across the state, creating thousands of permanent jobs.
Women make up only 12 percent of police officers nationwide. One initiative aims to triple that.
Nebraska’s Jump Start Scholarships program offers up to 100 percent tuition reimbursement along with signing bonuses for high school graduates to pursue degrees.
Arkansas gave a significant pay boost to new hires, making it easier for rural districts to attract talent. This has caused resentment among experienced teachers who now feel unrewarded for their long service.
Since the Great Recession, states have moved to reform their public pension plans, making tough choices and frequently doing so with bipartisan support. Federal lawmakers should keep these lessons in mind.
Two years after Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act, some significant steps are now underway. Major manufacturers hope to position the nation as a player in global semiconductors.
The proposed rules would require indoor workplaces to be cooled below 87 degrees Fahrenheit when employees are present. They would require breaks and water and other cooling devices when 87 degrees cannot be met.
Governments and private employers are beginning to reap the benefits of this move, but sweeping changes in state and federal policy and adoption of new technologies are needed to make good on its promise.
There’s a global shortage of workers in the semiconductor industry. To combat this, the Taiwanese government and several corporations have partnered with a university to fast-track students into jobs.
Most government employees at the state and local level have returned to their respective offices at least part time, but some legislators and other officials want to make in-person work mandatory.
Federal mandates that steer contracts to unionized companies exacerbate the construction industry’s skilled labor shortage. Taxpayers lose when responsible contractors that do a quality job at the best price are frozen out.
With most public retirement systems seeing improved actuarial funding levels, there’s an opportunity to offer options that could make government compensation more competitive. But any impetus for change should come from pragmatic public employers, not partisans or lobbyists.
California has long relied on its prison population to battle wildfires. But a steady decline in the state’s incarcerated population and a $45 billion budget shortfall has left the state with gaps when it comes to wildfire response.
Over the last five years, half the nation’s jobs were created in Texas and Florida. California and New York fell to the bottom of the heap, according to a Stateline analysis.
Unions have recently enjoyed some success in both recruitment and labor actions. They now face resistance from lawmakers in red states, particularly in the South.
Transit agencies are facing overlapping crises, including a shortage of maintenance workers. They’ll need new recruiting and training regimens to hire more workers and transition to zero-emission fleets, per a new report.
Staff levels at Class I railroads declined about 28 percent between 2011 and 2021. Trains have also gotten longer, often reaching 2 or 3 miles long. Many are concerned that the combination poses a safety risk.
The workplace fatality rate for construction workers in North Carolina in 2022 was about 20 percent higher than the rest of the nation and about 2.5 times higher than the occupational death rate for all North Carolina workers.
Some interest groups don’t like project labor agreements, but new research shows that they benefit taxpayers and the construction industry while strengthening our skilled trade workforce.
Supplementing early childhood educators’ wages has gone a long way toward addressing a longtime crisis. Even if the program doesn’t survive the city’s budget process, it should remain an example for local, state and federal efforts.
State agencies are trying to address technical shortcomings that led to as much as $135 billion in fraud during the pandemic. But declining and volatile federal funding for administration is impeding those efforts.
Gov. Josh Shapiro signed an executive order on Monday that pioneers several initiatives to attract public service workers. Approximately 18,000 state employees will become eligible to retire in the next five years.
Studies have found that four-day work weeks offer a variety of benefits to employees and employers. But not everyone is in favor of a shorter work week, especially amid a tight labor market and high inflation.
Research shows that traditional defined-benefit plans still play a key role in attracting and retaining government employees. To maximize these benefits’ impact, employers need to make sure their workers understand them.
New data from the New York City Economic Development Corporation shows that the city’s Black unemployment rate has dropped to 7.9 percent. Overall unemployment has dropped to 4.9 percent and Hispanic unemployment is at 6.7 percent.
Absurd occupational licensing requirements are costly for the economy and harmful to the workforce, but we don't seem to be able to do much about them.
One in every four job postings seeks candidates with the data skills that companies need — and those jobs pay better. Schools should refocus their efforts.
Companies that grew tech talent rapidly during the pandemic are now firing workers in droves in an effort to reduce operating costs and improve profitability, creating an employer’s market.
Research shows that traditional defined-benefit retirement plans aren’t a path to improved recruitment or retention. When it comes to younger workers in particular, policymakers need to accept the new reality.
The state hopes that the training program will better prepare teachers with real classroom experience — and improve recruitment and retainment. Roughly one in three teachers hired in Texas in the 2024 academic year were uncertified.