Embracing Sector Strategies: Workforce Boards Share Lessons

Posted May 15, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog embracingsectorstrategies 2017

Work­force devel­op­ment boards have an impor­tant role to play in advanc­ing sec­tor strate­gies, which can help low-income, low-skilled job seek­ers obtain the train­ing and cre­den­tials nec­es­sary to plug into region­al labor mar­kets, accord­ing to new report fund­ed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

It will require a shift away from busi­ness as usu­al, how­ev­er. Work­force boards must move beyond admin­is­ter­ing and over­see­ing pro­grams to work­ing more col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly with part­ners to cul­ti­vate region­al tal­ent pipelines and equip job seek­ers with the skills nec­es­sary to secure mean­ing­ful careers with local employ­ers, accord­ing to Pro­mot­ing the Adop­tion of Sec­tor Strate­gies by Work­force Devel­op­ment Boards Under the Work­force Inno­va­tion and Oppor­tu­ni­ty Act.

To sup­port this move, the pub­li­ca­tion, which the Ray Mar­shall Cen­ter for the Study of Human Resources released in March 2017, shares key insights from five work­force devel­op­ment boards across the coun­try that have suc­cess­ful­ly imple­ment­ed sec­tor strate­gies. Lessons include:

  • involv­ing employ­ers in a struc­tured and con­tin­u­ous man­ner, instead of a spo­radic process, to keep them engaged in local work­force efforts;
  • exam­in­ing ways to blend resources from a vari­ety of local, state and fed­er­al fund­ing streams;
  • devel­op­ing rela­tion­ships with direct ser­vice providers to assist with child care, trans­porta­tion, hous­ing and oth­er bar­ri­ers that job seek­ers might face; and
  • using unem­ploy­ment insur­ance wage data to track par­tic­i­pant out­comes as work­ers move through the labor market.

We hope this pub­li­ca­tion will fill a gap in the pub­lic work­force field,” says Foun­da­tion Senior Asso­ciate Alli­son Ger­ber. While there are a great deal of work­force devel­op­ment tools and evi­dence aimed at non­prof­it and com­mu­ni­ty col­lege prac­ti­tion­ers, as well as state advo­cates and pol­i­cy­mak­ers, there is lit­tle guid­ance for local sys­tem part­ners look­ing to scale these promis­ing approaches.”

The report also aims to help work­force boards adapt to the Work­force Inno­va­tion Oppor­tu­ni­ties Act, passed in 2014. This leg­is­la­tion includes sev­er­al impor­tant pro­vi­sions — includ­ing an empha­sis on sec­tor strate­gies — designed to strength­en the nation’s work­force devel­op­ment system.

Read the report

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