"Offers a snapshot of sector strategies today, an overview of what makes them different from traditional workforce and economic development programs, and a description of actions that state administrators and policymakers can take as part of a policy framework to support their creation and effective operation."

"Today more than half the nation’s states are exploring or implementing sector strategies, making the model the most consistently adopted approach to meeting businesses’ need for skilled workers and workers’ need for good jobs. Sector strategies are among the few workforce interventions that statistical evidence shows to improve employment opportunities for workers and to increase their wages once on the job. Employers reported increases in productivity, reductions in customer complaints, and declines in staff turnover, all of which reduce costs and improve the competitiveness of their companies. This was likely why an estimated 1,000 sector partnerships were operating across the country.

Sector strategies are partnerships of employers within one industry that brought government, education, training, economic development, labor, and community organizations together to focus on the workforce needs of an industry within a regional labor market. At the state level, they are policies and investments that supported the development of local sector partnerships” (Abstractor: Author). (p. 2)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Based on more than a decade of knowledge gained, lessons learned, and evidence that sector strategies work, it is clear that they will continue to grow and evolve, especially in states and localities that have already adopted the approach. States are finding sector strategies key to addressing skills gaps, engaging directly with industry and streamlining state programs and resources. No other strategy appears to compare in terms of: • Using public resources efficiently, effectively, and collectively • Showing tangible results, such as improved business productivity and increased earnings for workers • Acknowledging regional differences and strengths and actively encouraging local flexibility and action by local programs Governors and regional leaders therefore have good reasons to make sector strategies part of a comprehensive economic competitiveness agenda. Drawing upon the solid efforts of others, states can start immediately with the following steps: 1. Creating a sector strategy committee that includes public and private sector leadership; 2. Aligning state policies across systems, including workforce development, education, and economic development; 3. Cultivating business champions to promote sector strategies across critical industries; 4. Building legislative support to make sector strategies the “way to do business”; 5. Providing good data and industry knowledge to local program leaders; 6. Finding and leveraging funding to support the implementation of sector partnerships, 7. Providing training and capacity building for local programs to design, convene, and implement sector partnerships; and… 8. Developing a shared message and tracking outcomes” (p. 18). (Abstractor: Author)