In an environment of limited resources, it’s critical that state policymakers invest in workforce development strategies that work. Local sector partnerships, which bring together multiple employers with education, training, labor, and community-based organizations, are a proven strategy for helping employers find skilled workers and helping workers prepare for middle-skill jobs.
Skills in the States: Sector Partnership Policy, a first-ever 50-state scan by National Skills Coalition finds that 21 states have policies in place to support local sector partnerships, and as such, are positioned to help local communities meet the needs of both workers and employers in key industries. Out of these, 15 are investing state or federal resources in supporting local partnerships.
NSC expects the number of states with sector partnership policies to increase as states implement WIOA, which requires sector partnerships as a local workforce activity and states to support those local efforts. Moreover, the 21 states with policies already in place will have more opportunities to strengthen or scale-up their existing policies.
In conducting the scan, National Skills Coalition counted a state as having a sector partnership policy if it provided at least of the following items of support to local sector partnerships in more than one industry: funding, technical assistance, and program initiatives. These three types of support are not mutually exclusive, and some states provide more than one type of support to local sector partnerships.
The scan found that the majority of states without sector partnership policies have some other state-level workforce activities that target key industries or sectors. These activities may provide a foundation for developing a state-level policy to support local sector partnerships that can help grow these industries.
NSC will continue tracking state-level progress in realizing WIOA’s vision of sector partnerships as a key component of the workforce development system.