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From Site Selection magazine, January 2018

The 2018 Regional Workforce Development Rankings


It is difficult to overstate how crucial workforce development is to a state’s economic health. CNBC’s Scott Cohn notes in America’s Top States for Business 2017 that “most states point with great pride to the quality and availability of their workers, as well as government-sponsored programs to train them.” All states invest in workforce development, but those investments can be more productive in states where other factors are also at work — strong education systems, legislators committed to education excellence, and others. 

Site Selection this year introduces a more robust methodology for gauging state’s workforce development environment. It does not rate specific state programs, but rather the context in which those programs are applied. Index components are:

  • CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business 2017 Workforce and Education sub-ranking
  • Forbes’ Best States for Business 2017 Labor Supply sub-rankings
  • US News’ 2017 Best States for Education rankings
  • ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) rankings
  • Average number of workforce development enactments passed in 2015 & 2016

States were ranked regionally and according to their comparative strength in each category. Due to their robustness and breadth, CNBC’s and Forbes’ sub-rankings were weighted more heavily than the other categories. The remaining categories were weighted equally.

Northeast Region

  1. Massachusetts
  2. New Hampshire
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. New York
  6. Rhode Island
  7. Pennsylvania
  8. Vermont
  9. Maine

East North Central Region

  1. Illinois
  2. Michigan
  3. Wisconsin
  4. Indiana
  5. Ohio

Atlantic Region

  1. Virginia
  2. Maryland
  3. Georgia
  4. North Carolina
  5. Florida
  6. Delaware
  7. South Carolina
  8. West Virginia

South Central Region

  1. Texas
  2. Tennessee
  3. Oklahoma
  4. Arkansas
  5. Louisiana
  6. Kentucky
  7. Alabama
  8. MississippI

Pacific Region

  1. Washington
  2. California
  3. Oregon
  4. Hawaii
  5. Alaska

West North Central Region

  1. Iowa
  2. Kansas
  3. Minnesota
  4. Missouri
  5. Nebraska
  6. North Dakota
  7. South Dakota

Mountain Region

  1. Colorado
  2. Utah
  3. Arizona
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Idaho
  7. New Mexico
  8. Nevada

Mark Arend
Editor Emeritus of Site Selection magazine

Mark Arend

Mark Arend is editor emeritus of Site Selection, and previously served as editor in chief from 2001 to 2023. Prior to joining the editorial staff in 1997, he worked for 10 years in New York City at Wall Street Computer Review, ABA Banking Journal and Global Investment Technology. Mark graduated from the University of Hartford (Conn.) in 1985 and lives near Atlanta, Georgia.


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