In an effort to bring new tools to our economic and workforce development community Team Pennsylvania has begun collaborating with the Departments of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and Labor & Industry (L&I) to organize 10 Next Generation Sector Strategies Summits throughout the Commonwealth. Working with the economic and workforce development organizations in the 10 PREP Regions, the summits have provided practical examples and best practices of industry-driven workforce development. Bringing together these leaders is the first step in building a better ecosystem for businesses to develop the talent they need to thrive. In December, events were held in Harrisburg, Lewisburg, Pittsburgh, and Altoona.

To kick off this work presentations were made to the Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association and the Pennsylvania Economic Development Association in October about what these summits hoped to achieve. OurĀ goal is to not reinvent the wheel with this work. Instead, we will bring together economic and workforce development professionals to strengthen their existing regional partnerships while identifying opportunities to deepen industry engagement and align their development efforts.

This new Sector Strategies Initiative is reminiscent of the Industry Partnership Initiative, originated by Team Pennsylvania and administered by L&I. The Industry Partnership Initiative convened leaders from industries across the state to discuss workforce issues and map solutions to enhance employee productivity. Team Pennsylvania provided the initial funding for the development of this program and our investment led to more than 70,000 employees being trained through this nationally recognized program. The program was a success – 6,300 companies representing 20 industries joined together to close skills gaps and address workforce challenges. Participants who received Industry Partnership Worker Training reported a 13% wage increase.

We believe strongly that the best workforce and economic development systems are driven by business feedback and leadership. Working with our partners we are hopeful that these new tools will continue to put the business community in the drivers seat to meet the economic and workforce challenges Pennsylvania faces.