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Next Generation Sector Partnerships: A Series of Case Studies

July 2018

Elizabeth Sobel Blum

Next Generation Sector Partnerships are regional collaborations of businesses, from the same industry and in a shared labor market region, that work with education, workforce development, economic development and community organizations to address workforce and other pressing competitiveness needs of a target industry. Below are case studies of these partnerships in five regions. Some of these partnerships are in their beginning stages while others are more mature. Altogether, they demonstrate the variety of successes that can be achieved as regions implement and advance their next generation sector partnerships.

About the Next Generation Sector Partnership Model

Next Generation Sector Partnerships are regional collaborations of businesses, from the same industry and in a shared labor market region, that work with education, workforce development, economic development and community organizations to address workforce and other pressing competitiveness needs of a target industry. While the concept of public-private partnerships or even workforce sector partnerships is not unique, Next Generation Sector Partnerships are distinct in three ways: 1) they are industry-driven; 2) they are community supported; and 3) they are comprehensively focused on workforce and economic development. Partnerships launch when industry leaders in one geographic region come together to identify their biggest shared opportunities for growth, then prioritize the most important requirements to capitalize on those opportunities. In response, educators, workforce boards, chambers of commerce, community-based organizations and others coordinate with each other and partner with the industry to address these requirements.

The Next Generation Sector Partnership model strongly reflects an “open-source” approach to workforce and economic development. No individual person or organization owns it—industry sector business leaders own it with their community partners. Partnerships act as an operating system by serving as a platform for discourse, analysis, decision-making, coordination and innovation for the benefit of industry, the regional economy that hosts it and the jobseekers and workers who reside in the community. While it may be counterintuitive to some that industry leaders would work with their competitors, they come to the table because they recognize that some of the industry’s most important requirements for growth and competitiveness span the region and their industry, and issues cannot be resolved independently.

For more information about the model, see the Next Generation Sector Partnerships website and the publication “Regional Talent Pipelines: Collaborating with Industry to Build Opportunities in Texas” by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Center for Public Policy Priorities.

Economic Development & Human Capital