NGA Selects 6 States to Upskill Adult Learners through the Educate for Opportunity Project

Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Wyoming to Use Strada Education Network Data to Strengthen Pathways Between Education and Careers

WASHINGTON — The National Governors Association (NGA) in partnership with Strada Education Network began its newest effort to help states design education and training programs to increase upward mobility of residents by selecting six states for its Educate for Opportunity project.

Minnesota, Massachusetts, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Wyoming will receive financial as well as policy and technical assistance from NGA and Strada over the next 18 months as part of a $2.3 million grant from Strada.  The states will build data-driven approaches to connect residents to jobs in growing industries, strengthening local economies and helping people embark on meaningful careers that allow them to support themselves and their families.

Forty-two states have set ambitious postsecondary attainment goals, but national data shows that fewer than half of adults — 47.6 percent — from ages 25-64 have earned a credential beyond high school.

“Almost every state across the country has set an ambitious attainment goal for itself, and the best way to meet this goal is to dedicate substantial resources to serving students who either never pursued postsecondary education, or have earned some college credit but not a credential,” said Amanda Winters, NGA’s postsecondary education program director. “We are thrilled to begin this crucial work with the Educate for Opportunity cohort and are confident that it will lead to meaningful progress.”

Along with an initial $100,000 and technical assistance, the grantees will receive access to state-specific, proprietary data from the Strada-Gallup Education Consumer Survey to craft evidence-based policy solutions. The dataset illustrates consumers’ decisions, specific to cities and regions in each state, about whether to pursue postsecondary credentials and their satisfaction with the value of the education they received after high school. These insights are the result of more than 340,000 interviews with adults across the country to understand their education and work experiences, including why some have forgone postsecondary education.

Because perceptions about education are often affected by the strength of the surrounding state or regional economy, Strada affiliate and labor analytics firm Emsi will provide customized data illustrating skill supply and demand. This data shows the skills needed in specific communities and how those needs match up with the skills states’ education and training programs provide to job seekers.

“Our partnership with the NGA on this grant is an example of Strada’s mission in action,” said Strada Executive Vice President for National Engagement and Philanthropy Carol D’Amico. “Consumer insights data has reshaped and innovated some of our nation’s biggest industries. With the right sets of data – and thought partnership to apply it – we believe consumer insights can have the same effect for the connections among education, training and work in state policy. We look forward to partnering with these innovative states to help millions of people at risk of getting left behind without the benefit of education and training designed to move them up the career and wage ladder.”

Representatives from each state team will join Strada, NGA, and other policy matter experts in St. Louis, Missouri, Sept. 18 for the formal launch of the project.

The project runs from Sept. 1, 2019 through March 1, 2021. Funding is provided by the Strada Education Network, a national social impact organization dedicated to improving lives by forging clearer and more purposeful paths between education and employment.


Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the nonpartisan organization of the nation’s 55 governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.