Out West (Presented by WGA)

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Invasive Species Data (#16): Conservation Districts

Invasive Species Data: Conservation Districts highlights the importance of invasive species data for conservation districts. The episode of Out West is the first in a series for WGA's Invasive Species Data Mobilization Campaign, which encourages land managers, landowners, conservation groups, and NGOs to standardize and share invasive species data in the West. Bill Whitacre, Senior Policy Advisor at WGA, speaks with Keith Owen, the South Central Region representative for the National Association of Conservation Districts, about the impact of invasive species on the work of conservation districts and why it is important to share invasive species data.

Out West (#15): An Inclusive Economic Recovery for All Americans

COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted people with disabilities and changed the work landscape in ways that present challenges and opportunities for disability employment. WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward speaks with Andrew Houtenville, Research Director of the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, and Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disabiity:IN, about how the pandemic has affected the workforce and ways to ensure an inclusive economic recovery for all Americans. 

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting its website.

Out West (#14): Technology for an Inclusive Workforce

Technologies with universal design and assistive technologies have increased opportunities for workers with disabilities and revolutionized everything from office to factory work. To learn more about some of these exciting developments and how their adoption can be accelerated through policy, WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward spoke with Aaron Bangor, Director of Compliance at AT&T and Chair of the Texas Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities.

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting their website.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#13): Reintroducing Natural Fire in Western Landscapes

Bill Whitacre, WGA Senior Policy Advisor, leads a conversation about the ways that fire can be used to restore western lands, as well as barriers to its expanded use. He speaks with Ron Goode, Tribal Leader of the North Fork Mono; Lenya Quinn-Davidson, Director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council; and Laura McCarthy, the New Mexico State Forester.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#12): Bridging the Disability Employment Gap

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, WGA Policy Associate Lauren Cloward spoke with Bobby Silverstein, Legislative Counsel to the State Exchange on Employment and Disability (SEED), about the Work Matters policy framework, which serves as a repository of best practices for improving disability employment.

Lauren then explored the innovative ways the Work Matters framework is being used to achieve workforce inclusivity in states with Kristin Vandagriff, Executive Director for the Alaska Governor’s Council on Disabilities and Special Education; Elizabeth Gordon, Executive Director for the Washington Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment; and Rob Hines, Director of the Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Learn more about SEED’s ongoing work on disability employment by visiting their website.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#11): Firefighting in the Era of COVID

WGA Senior Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre – himself a former wildland firefighter – and Aaron Thompson, State Fire Management Officer for the Bureau of Land Management in Montana and the Dakotas, discuss the challenges fire managers face during the 2020 wildfire season. In addition, they also explore new strategies and procedures to keep fire crews safe.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#10): Exploring the 2020 Annual Report

This episode recaps the impactful, collaborative policy work of Western Governors over the past year and helps set the agenda for the year ahead. Join WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury in a conversation with Troy Timmons, WGA’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, Senior Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre, and Policy Advisors Ward Scott and Kevin Moss, about the wide-reaching impact Western Governors are having across the region.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#9): Reimagining the Rural West Special Report

In this episode, WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury speaks with Policy Advisor Lauren DeNinno, who has led WGA’s work on the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative, to address the origins of Gov. Burgum’s policy effort and how it will inform Western Governors’ policy decisions moving forward. Ogsbury also talks with Troy Timmons, WGA’s Director of Federal Relations and Strategic Initiatives, who is leading WGA’s COVID-19 response, which includes a number of significant rural issues.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#8): The Buzz About Murder Hornets – Separating Fact from Fiction

This episode highlights efforts by Washington state officials to control a dangerous new invasive species threatening the West, the Asian Giant Hornet, also known as the ‘Murder Hornet.’

These fearsome new invaders are known for their potentially deadly sting, which has the ability to pierce the protective clothing of even professional beekeepers. How many of these enormous hornets have been identified in the West? Can they spread across the country?

Join WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre and Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologist Sven-Erik Spichiger as they explore the answers to these questions and more.

Produced by: Tyler Losier

Out West (#7): The Next Generation of Rural with Megan Laudenshlager, Ben Thomas, and Kevin Leier

Part 7 of a series on the Reimagining the Rural West Initiative discusses how rural youth can help shape their communities for decades to come. Join WGA Policy Advisor Laura Cutlip as she highlights the importance of listening to young people during the economic development process. Guests include Megan Laudenshlager, Executive Director of Strengthen North Dakota; Ben Thomas, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps; and Kevin Leier, a teacher at Rugby High School in Pierce County, North Dakota.

Narrator: Laura Cutlip

Produced by: Tyler Losier

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