Sen Bolz finalist in New Ideas Challenge

Sen Bolz finalist in New Ideas Challenge

Washington, DC – The NewDEAL announced today that Senator Kate Bolz’s work on increasing access to community college courses for career training has made her a finalist in the 2017 New Ideas Challenge – a competition among rising and innovative state and local policymakers to propose the best ideas for expanding opportunity and improving government in the new economy. A full list of finalists is below.


Of fifty proposals evaluated by an esteemed and diverse panel of judges, Bolz’s Community College Gap Assistance proposal is a finalist in the “Future of Workforce” category, which includes ideas that provide better access to the high-quality education and training required for workers to excel in the new economy. Her program provides financial aid to lower-income students taking non-credit courses to work in competitive industries that face workforce shortages, addressing the fact that no federal aid exists for the non-credit community college courses and skills certificates supported by this initiative.


“In a world being rapidly transformed by the forces of globalization and technological innovation, and where Americans have lost faith in 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 for the new economy,” said NewDEAL Executive Director Debbie Cox Bultan. “Senator Bolz and her fellow finalists have made proposals that, together, set a governing agenda for the country to follow and for making the economy and government work better for the American people.”


In its third edition, this year’s Challenge seeks to identify effective ways to address profound anxieties resulting from a new economy that has left many Americans behind. The Challenge is open to the 155 members of the NewDEAL (Developing Exceptional American Leaders), an organization chaired by U.S. Senator Mark Warner and former Delaware Governor Jack Markell to support 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.


The competition’s six categories cover ideas that:

  • provide better access to the high-quality education and training required for workers to excel in the new economy;
  • spur innovation and entrepreneurship;
  • strengthen communities and recognize that everyone benefits when more people have the best chance to contribute positively;
  • adapt government programs and services to meet the evolving needs of citizens and operate as effectively as possible in the new economy;
  • improve access to safety net and other programs that are critical for supporting healthy and secure families in the new economy; and
  • address challenges that have become particularly acute in rural communities.


“I am thrilled to be named a finalist and to be included in this group of talented and innovative leaders across the country,” said Senator Bolz. “This is an exciting opportunity to share my idea with them and to learn from other outstanding work being done to help more Americans get ahead and have access to the opportunities they deserve.”


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

Ami Bera, Congressman (CA-07)

Emily Cain, Executive Director, EMILY’’s List

Jim Kessler, Senior VP for Policy, Third Way

Bruce Reed, Co-chair of Aspen Future of Work Initiative & former Chief of Staff to VP Biden

Mark Riddle, President, New Leaders Council

Joe Sandberg, Founder & CEO,, an Founder of CalEITC4Me

Neera Tanden, President & CEO, Center for American Progress

Leena Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner


The six winners of the New Ideas Challenge will be announced on Thursday November 16 at the seventh annual NewDEAL Leaders Conference in Washington.