How Are Sector Strategies Connecting People With Work?

Posted January 15, 2019, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog howaresectorstrategiesconnecting 2019

For near­ly three decades, the Casey Foun­da­tion has invest­ed in sec­tor-based work­force strate­gies to help low-income job seek­ers secure mean­ing­ful careers that lift them out of pover­ty. Sec­tor strate­gies focus on the needs of local employ­ers in grow­ing indus­tries and pre­pare indi­vid­u­als with the skills and cre­den­tials to meet them. They are an effec­tive way to strength­en region­al labor mar­kets and cre­ate a more equi­table dis­tri­b­u­tion of jobs and wealth.

What is a sec­tor strategy?

A sec­tor is a clus­ter of busi­ness­es with­in a sim­i­lar indus­try, such as health care or con­struc­tion. Sec­tor strate­gies seek to under­stand the hir­ing needs of these busi­ness­es, intro­duce employ­ers to new labor sources — often from low-income com­mu­ni­ties — and, where need­ed, devel­op skills-train­ing pro­grams to help peo­ple com­pete for qual­i­ty positions.

The com­mon ele­ments of an effec­tive sec­tor strat­e­gy include:

  • engage­ment with employ­ers in high-growth indus­tries to under­stand and address their labor force needs;
  • qual­i­ty work­force pro­gram­ming that equips par­tic­i­pants with tar­get­ed skill devel­op­ment and indus­try-rec­og­nized certifications;
  • wrap­around ser­vices, includ­ing child care, trans­porta­tion, hous­ing and peer sup­port, to address the bar­ri­ers job seek­ers face; and
  • a com­mit­ment to mon­i­tor­ing and track­ing par­tic­i­pant outcomes.

Sec­tor-spe­cif­ic approach­es not only pro­duce the skilled labor­ers that busi­ness­es need, but in doing so, expand oppor­tu­ni­ty for job seek­ers who tra­di­tion­al­ly haven’t had a path­way to well-pay­ing careers,” says Alli­son Ger­ber, a senior asso­ciate at the Casey Foun­da­tion. These strate­gies are an effec­tive tool to help young peo­ple, low-income work­ers and oth­er untapped tal­ent plug into their local economies.”

The fol­low­ing resources offer lessons and rec­om­men­da­tions gleaned from Casey’s invest­ments in sec­tor strategies.

Sec­tor Strate­gies and Work­force Development

Using Sec­tor Strate­gies to Address Racial Disparities

Prepar­ing Young Peo­ple for Work­force Success

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