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Senator Singleton Named Finalist in National Ideas Challenge

Work on job training is recognized as one of most innovative/impactful state or local policy proposals in future of work category

Washington, DC – The NewDEAL announced today that Senator Troy Singleton’s (Moorestown) efforts to support the unemployed and underemployed obtain job skills have made him a finalist in the 2019 New Ideas Challenge – a competition among rising and innovative state and local policymakers to propose the most effective solutions to an array of challenges. Policy experts vote for the proposals that best improve Americans’ economic well-being and overall quality of life, and that make government work more effectively to meet communities’ needs. A full list of finalists is below.

Of fifty proposals evaluated by an esteemed and diverse panel of judges (see list below), Singleton’s Accelerated Career Certification for the Unemployed/Underemployed idea is a finalist in the “Adapting to the Future of Work” category, which includes proposals to ensure that everyone, including traditionally underserved populations, has opportunities to earn good jobs and pursue entrepreneurial ventures, while having access to a safety net that provides security and stability.  His bill helps the unemployed and underemployed to be prepared for a well-paying job in a promising industry by completing a career & technical education certificate in 12 months.

“In a world being rapidly transformed by the forces of globalization and technological innovation, and where Americans have lost faith in national government to solve pressing issues, the New Ideas Challenges shows how a group of innovative state and local officials are rising to the challenge of finding solutions in a rapidly changing world,” said NewDEAL Executive Director Debbie Cox Bultan. “Senator Singleton and his fellow finalists have made proposals that, together, set an important governing agenda for the country to follow and for making the economy and government work better for the American people.”

The Challenge was open to the 166 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization that supports state and local pro-growth progressive elected officials through the exchange of ideas and engagement with other top public, private, and non-profit sector officials. U.S. Senator Mark Warner (VA) and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the group.

The five winners of the New Ideas Challenge will be announced on Thursday November 21 at the ninth annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington, DC.

In its fourth edition, this year’s competition takes place in the context of a presidential campaign that gives Americans a unique opportunity to debate the direction of the country, the society we want to build for present and future generations, and the policies required to achieve our goals. NewDEALers are at the forefront of efforts to make good on the promise of states and cities as laboratories of democracy. The Ideas Challenge recognizes that these leaders, who represent diverse communities from urban centers to rural towns and in red, blue, and purple districts, have powerful messages, experiences, and proposals that must be heard.

“I am thrilled to be named a finalist and to be included in this group of talented leaders across the country,” said Senator Singleton. “Americans can’t wait for theoretical debates and political rhetoric to address the challenges they face. This is an important time to share practical ideas that can remove barriers to opportunity for working families and communities across the country.”

Winners for this year’s Ideas Challenge were selected in the following categories:

  • Adapting to the future of work with ideas for ensuring everyone, including traditionally underserved populations, has opportunities to access good jobs and supporting an entrepreneurial ecosystem, while also including the health care, housing, and other safety net elements necessary for security and stability;
  • Expanding access to education, with opportunities at every level — from early childhood to post-secondary — to prepare students to make the most of their abilities;
  • Securing our communities and our planet, with ideas for states, cities, and regions to address climate change;
  • Empowering disadvantaged populations with policies that ensure people facing systemic obstacles have a fair shot to contribute and thrive;
  • Rebuilding community by effectively and efficiently solving problems, and engaging people in civic society.


Submissions to the New Ideas Challenge were evaluated by eight judges:

Andrei Cherny, CEO, Aspiration

Micaela Fernandez Allen, Director of Global Public Policy, Walmart

Alastair Fitzpayne, Executive Director, Aspen Future of Work Initiative

Christy Goldfuss, Senior Vice President for Energy and Environment Policy, Center for American Progress

Dan’l Lewin, President & CEO, Computer History Museum

Amy Liu, Vice President and Director, Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings

Steven Olikara, Founder & President, Millennial Action Project


2019 New Ideas Challenge Finalists:

Adapting to the Future of Work

Creating Portable Benefits – Senator Eric Lesser, Longmeadow, MA

PTSD Coverage for First Responders – Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, Norwalk, CT

Accelerated Career Certification for the Unemployed/Underemployed – Senator Troy Singleton, Moorestown, NJ


Expanding Access to Education

City of Columbus Earn to Learn – Councilmember Elizabeth Brown, Columbus, OH

Library in Every School Plan – House Democratic Whip Darrin Camilleri, Brownstown, MI

Alabama School of Cyber Technology & Engineering – House Minority Leader Anthony Daniels, Huntsville, AL


Securing our Communities and our Planet 

Resilient Zoning Code for a Coastal Community – Councilmember Andria McClellan, Norfolk, VA

Schools as a Center of Sustainability – School Board Member Laura Capps, Santa Barbara, CA

Sustainable Communities – Mayor Josh Maxwell, Downingtown, PA


Empowering Disadvantaged Populations

West Sacramento On-Demand: Mobility for All – Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, West Sacramento, CA

Fair Fees and Fines for Vulnerable Residents – Treasurer José Cisneros, San Francisco, CA

Helping Understand Barriers (HUB) Prosecutor Diversion Program – City Attorney Zach Klein, Columbus, OH


Rebuilding Community

Transit Corridor Opportunity Program (TCOP) – Councilmember Nirva LaFortune, Providence, RI

The Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act – Councilmember Will Jawando, Montgomery County, MD

Mobile Mayor – Mayor Libby Schaaf, Oakland, CA