Out West (Presented by the Western Governors’ Association)

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Out West (#34): The Next Generation of Western Leaders

The Next Generation of Western Leaders, the latest episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, highlights the inaugural class of delegates from the 2022 Western Governors’ Leadership Institute, a new programmatic offering from the Western Governors’ Foundation that is designed to promote and encourage the effective exercise of leadership in young adults throughout the West.

Listen in as Aspen Lenning from Oklahoma, Gustaf Vanderdonck from Arizona, Samantha Mooney from Colorado, Gabriella Smith from Washington, Brandon Larranaga from New Mexico, Kaleb Dschaak from North Dakota, Jonathan Karlen from Montana, and Skyler Bollar from Idaho discuss their experiences at this year's Institute and how their interactions with the Governors, Cabinet Secretaries, and sponsors who attended the event, enhanced their perspective of effective leadership and bipartisan political action.

Out West (#33): Supporting Coal Communities

The new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, 'Supporting Coal Communities,' explores the economic trends impacting Utah’s coal communities in the face of changing energy markets and state efforts to bolster economic development opportunities in those areas. 

Listen in as WGA Senior Policy Advisor, Lauren DeNinno, speaks with Alyssa Kay, Director of Program Development for the Utah Office of Energy Development, and Geri Gamber, the Executive Director of the Southeastern Utah Association of Local Governments. Together they discuss specific programs that the state has pursued to support rural economic development, like the San Rafael Energy Research Center, which works to diversify the state's energy portfolio and help employees in the coal industry transition their skills to new economic sectors.           

Out West (#32) Agricultural Workforce in the West

The new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, Agricultural Workforce in the West, explores the challenges that communities face as more agricultural workers retire, the barriers that young people face when attempting to start a career in the industry and opportunities to address the issue by expanding apprenticeship programs on family farms and ranches.

Listen in as WGA Policy Advisor, Kevin Moss, speaks with Kate Greenberg, the Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture, and Sarah Wenzel-Fisher, the Executive Director of the Quivira Coalition, a non-profit organization based in Santa Fe, New Mexico that is dedicated to building economic and ecological resilience on western working landscapes. Together they discuss effective workforce training programs and partnerships that can help young people develop the necessary tools for a successful career in agriculture. 

Out West (#31): Post-Fire Restoration Challenges

'Post-Fire Restoration Challenges' explores the challenges that wildfire-affected communities face and the available resources to help them recover. 

Listen in as WGA Director of Federal Relations and Strategic Initiatives Troy Timmons speaks with the Founder and CEO of Coalitions & Collaboratives, Inc., Carol Ekarius, about improving community capacity to address restoration needs, federal programs that offer assistance and opportunities to enhance the implementation of both pre-fire mitigation and post-fire restoration work. 

Out West (#30): Fixing America’s Forest

The new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, Fixing America’s Forests, delves into recent forest management projects that successfully protected western communities by slowing potentially catastrophic wildfires and insect infestations. The lessons extrapolated from these case studies can help communities coordinate forest health treatments – especially as resources become available as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the U.S. Forest Services’ 10-year fire strategy.

Listen in as WGA Policy Advisor Jonah Seifer talks with Ben Wudtke, the Executive Director of the Intermountain Forest Association, about how collaborative, all-lands interventions can effectively save communities and ecosystems from uncharacteristic wildfire and insect epidemics, building long-term resilience in our forests.

Out West (#29): Supporting Cross-Boundary Conservation

The latest episode of WGA’s ‘Out West’ podcast, Supporting Cross-Boundary Conservation, explores the importance of cross-boundary management for healthy and productive working lands, and how programs with the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) can help unify various management activities across public and private lands. 

In this episode, WGA Policy Advisor Kevin Moss sits down with Emily Fife, the Utah State Conservationist for the NRCS, to discuss opportunities for landowners to leverage NRCS programs that support species conservation, how NRCS works with western communities on landscape planning, and why current drought and wildfire stressors require coordinated responses across ownership boundaries.

Out West (#28): On the Mind: Youth Behavioral Health Care Access

This episode of ‘Out West’ delves into the region’s behavioral health care challenges that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic – including obstacles to accessing care and significant workforce shortages – and the strategies that western states have applied to overcome these issues.

Listen in as WGA Policy Advisor Lauren Cloward speaks with Mary Beth Brown, the Behavioral Health Strategist at the Washington State Department of Health, and Megan Selheim, the Youth and Young Adult Program Manager at the Wyoming Department of Health, about the efforts of western states to integrate behavioral health into primary care practices and improve youth behavioral health care access in resource-constrained areas.   


Out West (#27) Strengthening the State-Federal Relationship

The new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, Federalism, the Genius of American Democracy, explores the work that Western states and organizations are undertaking to strengthen and rebalance the states’ relationship with the federal government. Listen in as WGA Senior Policy Advisor Kevin Doran speaks with Matt Morrison, CEO of the Pacific NorthWest Economic Region Foundation, Edgar Ruiz, Director of the Council of State Governments West, Jonathan Shuffield, Associate Legislative Director for Public Lands and Liaison to the Western Interstate Region for the National Association of Counties, and WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury about their collective work to protect and promote state authority.

Out West (#26) Moss Balls and Emergency Invasive Species Responses

The new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, Moss Balls and Emergency Invasive Species Responses, explores the collaborative efforts of western states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to address the recent discovery that Marimo moss balls, which are often used in aquariums and sold in pets stores nationwide, harbored invasive zebra mussels. Listen in as WGA policy advisor Laura Cutlip speaks with Brian Nesvik, the Director of Wyoming Game and Fish, Joshua Leonard, the Statewide Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Wyoming Game and Fish, and Eric Anderson, an officer with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, about the strategies they developed to meet this surprising threat and the importance of effective state-federal partnerships in the rapid response to invasive species management.    

Out West (#25): Diversifying the Cybersecurity Workforce

In honor of Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week and National Disability Employment Awareness Month, the new episode of WGA’s Out West podcast, Diversifying the Cybersecurity Workforce, explores the efforts to address workforce shortages in the cybersecurity field by expanding the talent pipeline and actively training un- and underemployed populations, including those with disabilities. Listen in on the conversation between, WGA Policy Advisor Lauren Cloward, Jeff Rangel, the Senior Director of Global Corporate Responsibility at Palo Alto Networks, and Patrick Romzek, the CEO and Founder of Bridge to Opportunity. 

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