In today’s economy, making sure that the skills of the available workforce meet the needs of local industry is crucial. By developing career pathways for workers that are aligned with the needs of industry, people can become and remain employed, industry grows, and the overall regional and national economies benefit.
That’s where Sector Planning comes in, and it all starts with focused, active partnerships between businesses and those engaged in workforce development. These “Sector Partnerships” are defined as:
“Focused, active partnerships among businesses in a target industry sector and workforce development organizations, educators, training providers, labor unions, community organizations, and other key stakeholders”
Working together, these collaborations identify industry needs for workers with specific skills, education, and credentials, and then make sure that educational and training opportunities are available to help people gain those skills and meet employer needs. Workforce Development Boards or workforce agencies often act as the convener, bringing together these stakeholders and facilitating the process of industry leaders articulating their workforce needs.
Once these stakeholders come together, they create “Sector Strategies,” which are defined as:
“Goals, plans of action, policies, and service delivery strategies developed and continuously re-examined by sector partnerships to meet the ongoing and changing needs of employers within that sector.”
Championed by Workforce Development Boards, but “driven” by employers, Sector Strategies are regional in scope and industry specific.
It’s important to note: The goal of Sector Strategies goes beyond immediately placing workers in jobs; rather, the goal is to build regional talent pipelines, address skill shortages, and create meaningful “Career Pathways” for a range of workers in specific industry sectors. Career Pathways are:
“A clear sequence of educational coursework, work experience and/or training credentials that help a worker enter or advance within a specific sector or occupational field, regardless of skills at the point of entry, with on and off ramps along the way.”
Career Pathways are created by an industry-driven sector partnership and fulfilled by community colleges and other education and training providers. They reflect the skill requirements for employment and career progression in high demand occupations within that sector. Career Pathways help to ensure that workers are trained in the skills employers say they require, and provide opportunities for workers to advance in the industry. This creates more satisfied employees and healthier industries, which improves regional economies.
How are Career Pathways defined where you live and work? What are some high demand industries with a need for a skilled workforce in your region? We’d love to read your ideas and experiences in the comments.
Want to learn more about Sector Strategies? Sign up for our free webinar, “Making Sector Strategies Real and Using your NEG to Help you Get There,” led by Richard Maher of Maher & Maher. You can find out more and register here.