The National Fund defines an industry partnership as a “dynamic collaboration of a regional group of employers that convene regularly with the assistance of a workforce intermediary.” These partnerships are a way to align resources to more effectively address an industry’s workforce needs — as well as other regional economic development challenges. Employers are at the heart of the most effective partnerships. Other parties in the partnership, such as educational institutions, labor organizations, and community organizations, form an outer circle of partners who are critical to implementing plans to improve education, training, and career opportunities. Partnerships among anchor mission institutions and labor management organizations are particularly strong in the healthcare sector.
Industry partnerships often begin when there is a pressing labor market issue that no one organization can address itself. Multiple stakeholders convene to address regional workforce and economic issues, with a neutral entity, such as a workforce intermediary or funding collaborative, serving as the backbone organization. In many regions of the country, healthcare will rise to the top as the leading job creator in the area. As a result, the unified voice of a healthcare industry partnership has the potential to make systemic change through a coordinated approach to education, training, and career advancement.
Here are some next steps to establish and maintain a healthcare partnership:
Invite industry partners. With a neutral convener appointed to staff the partnership, it is time to invite industry leaders. Identify CEOs or other leaders who express a commitment to the approach and invite them to chair the initiative. Clearly identifying roles and responsibilities will set the partnership up for success.
Launch the partnership. At the initial meeting, industry leaders and support partners should identify shared priorities and commit to initial steps to begin addressing those priorities.
Take action. Create employer-led task forces, action strategies, and commit to goals. Engage staff in research and support activities to ensure progress.
Sustain activities. Establish a home base and a solid infrastructure to support the partnership. Make sure that all partner organizations receive timely and complete information.
Evaluate and evolve. Establish a process for measuring results. Measure both process outcomes (number of trainees, new graduates, new employees) and impact (reduced turnover, increased wages, improved productivity.) Launch new projects to address evolving goals.
“We insisted that the process be employer-driven, and the providers of training listen to the employers and develop technical training programs around the jobs the hospitals said they would be hiring for over the next 12 months.”
PROGRAMMATIC | Healthcare provides one of the greatest opportunities for jobs in today’s economy. However, many people do not know about the array of healthcare jobs that exist and struggle to see how an entry level job can grow into a career.