Maher & Maher, an IMPAQ Company - Investment Advisors for Talent Development.
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Kentucky Commonwealth-Wide Sector Strategies Initiative

The Kentucky Workforce Investment Board engaged the services of Maher & Maher, in partnership with Economic Modeling Specialists, International (EMSI), to facilitate and provide technical expertise for the development of sector strategies in economic regions throughout the Commonwealth.  By determining the Commonwealth’s critical economic drivers and trends, we were able to highlight opportunities to diversify and strengthen Kentucky’s economic base and support the alignment of workforce and education systems accordingly.

This change management initiative was designed to introduce the concept of sector strategies – state policies that promote regional partnerships of employers, educators, workforce developers, and other stakeholders that address the skills and needs of critical industries in a region. Maher & Maher completed the following tasks:

  • Designed a “Sector Strategies 101” training program that is a high-level overview of the power and benefits of sector and cluster strategies;
  • Facilitated the identification of five statewide target sectors and three sectors in each region;
  • Fully developed a strategy for one statewide sector and provided critical industry, occupation and education data analysis.  This is the model from which regions are developing their own sector strategies;
  • Developed a self-assessment tool that enabled regions to determine their readiness to develop sector strategies, and the areas where improvement is needed to enhance readiness;
  • Designed and hosted a Sector Strategies Institute to introduce the value of regional sector approaches, discussed the results of the data analysis and fostered a method of collaborative, regionally-based decision-making in building regional sector strategies; and
  • Kentucky Sector Strategies ToolkitDeveloped a Sector Strategies toolkit that includes decision-making tools, strategy development tools, best practices, model strategies, etc. 

As part of this process, our partner data firm, EMSI, conducted a comprehensive functional economic area study, identifying eleven economic regions, including cross-Commonwealth border regions. We then developed and executed a multi-step process called the Consensus-Based Decision-Making Model for identifying target sectors. This model uses a unique multi-factor data process to engage local leadership in discussion of high-potential target sectors that adhere to the valued outcomes of regional planners (i.e., high-paying industries, sectors that multiply job creation, sectors that align with the current talent in the workforce, etc.). The model is also designed to elicit qualitative, on-the-ground input from leadership to refine the final target sector outcomes, allowing for the optimal identification and selection of target sectors.

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KY_Sector_Strategy_White_Paper_20110517r1 679 KB