Our most challenging problem . . .

Economic growth is the most important issue confronting national and state leaders today. Unfortunately, most states are struggling to maintain positive growth and economic ranking compared to other states. But the problem doesn’t end at our borders. This struggle will continue because of our decline in international competitiveness.

Many visionary leaders recognize the underlying root cause: declining availability of a quality skilled workforce that meets industry’s needs for future U.S. growth.


Misalignment of jobs to qualified workers.
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The #1 Problem

Virtually every state’s #1 problem is the inability to drive consistent economic growth, and states may not have the comprehensive solutions to reverse this trend.

By 2020, there could be over 80 million unfilled highly paid, highly skilled jobs.  Leaders are beginning to recognize the inability of our educational institutions to produce highly educated skilled graduates. Most of our present and future college grads will not be qualified for these jobs.

The negative effect on industry’s growth will continue downward pressure on all states economic indicators including GSP-Gross State Product.


Declining Economic Spiral
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Economic Downturn Spiral

Increasingly, state leaders are recognizing that their state’s economy is fragile and there is a potential downward spiral rooted in a huge mismatch between future jobs and available skilled candidates.

Lower state revenues begin a downward spiral that produces lower education funding, less qualified graduates, lower per-capita incomes, higher tax burdens, and lower fiscal rankings.

Anyone in state leadership unfortunately knows these negative factors always leads to accelerated economic decline due to the exodus a state's two key revenue sources-skilled workers and industry employers.

The Solution is Improving Education Outcomes by Focusing on Employer Needs

Here’s one of many examples: a large opportunity awaits us when we fix math and reading proficiency. A Harvard University report concludes :

  • "The U.S. falls behind 31 countries in math proficiency and 16 countries in reading proficiency."
  • "Enhancing math and reading skills could increase GDP growth per capita."
  • "Around $1 trillion of GDP grown per year could be added just by increasing math proficiency."
  • "Gains from increasing the percentage of proficient students to Canadian or Korean levels could yield an increase the annual U.S. growth rate by 0.9 percentage points and 1.3 percentage points. Since long-term average annual growth rates hover between 2 and 3 percentage points, that increment would lift growth rates by between 30 and 50 percent." 

Math is just one of over 25 economic and education challenges that DLA is intent on resolving.

The Digital Learning Alliance believes you can reverse your state’s negative economic trends when you follow our Economic Development Business Model

DLA’s Economic Development Foundation

After more than two-decades of experience, the leaders of the successful Utah Model have identified what it takes to achieve economic success. We call it our Economic Development Foundation (click on the link for the details) and it includes:

  1. Education is economic development
  2. International education competitiveness is continuing to decline
  3. Training focus must be on existing workforce . . . and traditional students
  4. Adopt a proven model that can reverse trends
  5. Automation and advance digital learning technology are a “critical success factor”
  6. Empower state legislatures to make significant change
  7. Engage with DLA and our proven Legislative Road Map

The Door Is Closing

DLA is engaging now with key state legislators to provide support for successful 2014 legislation. Your commitment is needed to join this movement that can impact progressive changes in your state economy and for your key stakeholders: students, parents, workers, employers, and educators. 

Adopt a proven model that can reverse trends

The DLA business model has evolved and has resulted in Utah leading economic development in the U.S. since 1990. DLA leaders are the original architects of this success story.

 Utah has enjoyed a thriving business climate for more than 20 years.

Utah has enjoyed a thriving business climate for more than 20 years.

#1 Best of Business (1990) - Fortune Magazine

#1 Economic Outlook Rank (2007-2012) - ALEC

#1 Best States for Business (2010-12) - Forbes

#1 Pro-Business State (2012) - Pollina

#1 Best Managed State in the Nation (2008) - Pew Center

#2 The Next Boom States (2012) - U.S. Chamber of Commerce

#1 Economic Dynamism (2012) - The 2012 State New Economy Index

#1 Tech Concentration and Dynamism (2008, 10, 12)