Reviews the success of the Michigan Regional Skills Alliance (MiRSA) Initiative and evaluates how it has impacted working practices in the state.
“The Michigan Regional Skills Alliance (MiRSA) Initiative, launched in 2004, offered thirteen local regions one-year start-up grants to develop local strategies to increase the skills and labour market success of individuals, and provide a collaborative approach through which local employees would benefit from a more skilled workforce. The state’s labor market information agency helped applicants by providing a cluster-type analysis of the local labour market and forecasts of employment trends and occupational needs. The implementation strategies varied by region and were based upon the identified needs of the targeted businesses as well the collective thinking of the local partnership. This chapter reviewed the success of the initiative, evaluating how it has impacted on working practices in the state” (p. 129). (Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Overall…MiRSAs appeared successful in identifying key industries that face labour shortages and other employment issues, in designing skills strategies, and in implementing them” (p. 148). The evaluation process produced the following recommendations: • “The commitment of key stakeholders/partners is essential. It is particularly important that the CEOs of the employer partners be actively involved, at least initially, so that they can provide the clout to attract and keep appropriate stakeholders in the alliance and provide the buy-in within their own organizations. • The presence of a director and a staff dedicated to the concept and objectives of the MiRSA is an important asset. • MiRSAs should be funded within a single, well-defined labour market of a manageable size so that partners can focus on and identify with specific initiatives and so that all can meet regularly without travelling great distances. • The formation stage is crucial, particularly the development of a strategic plan. It needs to reflect the diverse needs of the participating organisations and requires broad consensus of the partners. The strategic plan should also be based on a rigorous assessment of the local labour market and include quantifiable outcome measures. • As the entities move into the implementation and operation stages, they need to continue to engage partners so that all participants contribute and remain committed to the initiative and can benefit from the collaborative efforts of each partner. • With intense competition for funds and given the importance of accountability, it is vital that alliances establish performance measures and commit to tracking those measures and using the outcomes as a means to engage the partners and to keep them focused on their mission and purpose” (p. 148–149). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)