Defines and details criteria for state sector partnership policies; and following up on an initial scan in 2015, presents a 2017-updated state-by-state scan of sector partnership policies in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

“In 2015, [National Skills Coalition (NSC)] conducted the first-ever scan of state-level sector partnership policies in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. That scan provided a baseline of states that had policies in place at the beginning of [the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)]. This 2017 scan identifies state progress over the past two years and the current status of state-level policies” (p.6).

As part of a review of each state, the authors identify whether funding, technical assistance, and program initiatives for sector partnership policies, or other similar policies, are in place. If so, they describe the state’s policies, and indicate whether funding comes from federal or state resources.

“Sector partnerships…[bring] together multiple employers with education, training, labor, and community-based organizations to address the local skill needs of a particular industry. They provide a human resources function for multiple employers in an industry whose businesses share common occupations and workforce needs, and they create opportunities for workers to train for and access skilled jobs within an industry” (p.5).

“Sector partnerships typically carry out the following activities:

  • Analyze an industry’s current and future skill needs in the local area and identify occupations with skill gaps
  • Develop a plan to close the skill gaps in the industry
  • Assist in the implementation of the plan by carrying out activities such as:
    • Identifying common skill standards and promoting industry-recognized credentials
    • Building career pathways to skilled jobs in the industry
    • Creating or informing training programs and curricula” (p.5).

“State activities that target sectors are not limited to state sector partnership policies….For each state that does not have a sector partnership policy that meets [the authors’] definition, [they] describe other state-level workforce development activities that target industries or sectors” (p.12).

“[The authors] also make note of states that have had sector partnership policies in the past. [They] provide this information on past sector partnership policies and other state-level sector activities so that state policymakers, administrators, and advocates can determine whether past and other existing activities might provide a foundation for establishing a state sector partnership policy” (p.12).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

In 2017, “[t]here are thirty-two states (including the District of Columbia) with sector partnership policies in effect that meet [the author’s] definition. This is a substantial increase from the twenty-one states with policies in place [in 2015]” (p.6). “Key Findings Funding: Twenty-two of these states provide funding to local sector partnerships. Of these twenty-two, fourteen use state funding sources; and thirteen use federal funding sources (there are five that use both state and federal funds)….The biggest difference in funding is the increased use of Governor’s WIOA Reserve Funds to support sector partnerships….About an equal number of states (fourteen) turn to their own funds as to federal funds to support sector partnerships. Technical Assistance: Twenty-seven of these thirty-two states provide technical assistance to local sector partnerships….Common forms of technical assistance include state staff expertise and support to local partnerships, data analysis, peer-to-peer learning opportunities, and toolkits. Technical assistance is never the sole type of support provided; instead it is always provided in concert with funding or a program initiative. Program Initiative(s): These thirty-two states all use program initiatives to support local sector partnerships. In states that also provide funding to partnerships, program initiatives typically come in the form of statutes that establish the programmatic framework for the state’s sector partnership policy or administrative policies that guide the spending of federal or state funding on sector partnerships….States that do not provide funding for local sector partnerships tend to require or promote sector partnerships as a key aspect of their state’s workforce development strategy through state plans, economic development initiatives, and workforce policy guidance” (p.6-7). “Looking Ahead…. Thirty-two states have sector partnership policies in place and are well-positioned to use state, WIOA, and other resources to strengthen or expand sector partnerships in their state. In 2018, states must modify their WIOA state plans, which will present another opportunity for states to establish policies to support sector partnerships….States without any policies in place can use NSC’s Sector Partnership Policy Toolkit to establish one. Many of the states with policies already in place can also use the toolkit to further expand state support for local sector partnerships” (p.7). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)