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How States and Unions Can Partner To Build the Public Sector Workforce

How States and Unions Can Partner To Build the Public Sector Workforce

4 Case Studies of Training Programs

Partnering with unions to train public sector workers helps states uphold high-quality standards; connect with and recruit from local communities; and address the nation’s public sector hiring challenges.

State and local governments are struggling to attract and retain well-qualified workers. Public sector employment has not fully recovered since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and increasingly, officials find that they are unable to compete for skilled workers. As a result, communities across the country are paying the price: Classrooms are overcrowded, trash isn’t getting picked up, and ambulance response times are growing.

To rebuild the public workforce in today’s tight labor market, policymakers must tackle several problems simultaneously. Actions should include increasing funding for state and local budgets that have been starved for decades; combating COVID-19 burnout among essential service workers; and closing the growing pay gap between the public and private sectors. According to a recent analysis by the Economic Policy Institute, state and local government workers earn approximately 10 percent to 15 percent less than comparable private sector employees.

The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress. Click here to view the full article.

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Karla Walter

Senior Fellow, Inclusive Economy


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