Next Gen Sector Strategies Summits

Next Gen Sector Partnerships are, according to the Woolsey Group, industry-led: “Businesses, from the same industry and in a shared labor market region are invited to work with education, workforce development, economic development and community organizations to address the workforce and other competitiveness needs of the targeted industry.”

With the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), regions are looking to align their workforce and economy development efforts around the needs of the economy. This nationally benchmarked model of industry-led sector partnerships mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders from a specific sector to work collaboratively to address the competitiveness needs of their industry.

Team Pennsylvania collaborated with the Pennsylvania Departments of Community & Economic Development (DCED) and Labor & Industry (L&I) to organize 10 Next Gen Sector Strategies Summits across the state. Working with the economic and workforce development organizations in the 10 PREP Regions, the summits provided practical examples and best practices of industry-driven workforce development. Bringing together these leaders was the first step in building a better ecosystem for businesses to develop the talent they need to thrive.

The goal is to not reinvent the wheel with this work; it’s about strengthening existing regional partnerships while identifying opportunities to deepen industry engagement and align workforce and economic development efforts.

The Next Gen 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 that investment led to more than 70,000 employees being trained through this nationally recognized program.

With the strong belief that the best workforce and economic development systems are driven by business feedback and leadership, the goal is that these new tools will continue to put the business community in the driver’s seat to meet the economic and workforce challenges Pennsylvania faces.

Next Gen Sector Partnership Academy

Team PA, DCED and L&I collaborated to bring the Next Generation Sector Partnership Academy to State College, PA on September 21st and 22nd. Over 500 people attended in regional teams from Pennsylvania’s education, workforce development, economic development and community organizations to learn how to take these partnerships to the next level. Highlights of the Academy included:

  • Practical tips for building and sustaining next generation sector partnerships;
  • Facilitated opportunities for regional teams to make a shared plan of action;
  • A panel of industry leaders panel discussing what makes them get – and stay – involved;
  • A hands-on, simulated launch meeting; and
  • Tips on how to convert existing industry-led sector partnerships to the Next Gen model.

Armed with knowledge, tools and resources, the next step is to continue providing state level support as these Next Gen Sector Partnerships formally launch in the coming months.

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