Toolkit for Developing High-Performing Industry Partnerships

Stakeholder Engagement

Industry partnerships have two major types of constituents: employers and regional partners. Regional partners can include workers, workforce investment boards, economic development entities, education and training providers, and community-based organizations.

Regional partners are essential to understanding worker needs and designing programs and strategies that improve outcomes for workers and businesses.

Practice: Develop and Maintain Relationships With a Diverse Group of Partners

Partners should reflect the community and demonstrate a commitment to meeting employer and worker needs. This includes building relationships with the public workforce development system to better align resources that support employers and workers.

What success looks like

  • Your industry partnership reflects the demographics of the communities being served.
  • More partners are serving the needs of people and communities facing disparities.
  • Education and training providers’ programs, curricula, and credentials are aligned with industry needs.
  • Programs produce equitable outcomes for frontline workers and people of color.

Tools

  • Partnerships: A Workforce Development Practitioner’s Guide (Commonwealth Corporation) – Use these detailed descriptions of the different sectoral models and roles that stakeholders play in industry partnerships to more clearly define stakeholder roles and responsibilities.
  • Communities at Work Playbook (Aspen Institute & FutureWorks) – This playbook highlights the work of seven regional industry partnerships and action steps for partnership building, business engagement, and community collaboration.
  • Community Engagement Toolkit (Leading Inside Out & Collective Impact Forum) – Use this set of strategies, processes, and tools for engaging community members and organizations most impacted by social challenges in designing and implementing solutions.
  • Multi-stakeholder Partnership Development Tools – This toolkit provides over 60 process tools, each serving different purposes, to support multi-stakeholder engagement, including stakeholder analysis and partnership agreement resources.

Practice: Share Industry Intelligence and Trends

Stakeholders share information that speaks to trends affecting their work.

What success looks like

  • Increased collaboration between education and training providers, community-based organizations, and employers.
  • Informed decision-making and the development of new strategies to address trends and gaps.

Tools

Practice: Incorporate Workers as Stakeholders

Add worker voice and perspective around needs, barriers, and potential solutions to inform industry partnership goals, investments, and activities.

What success looks like

  • More partners are consistently engaging workers in the design and evaluation of programs and strategies.
  • Activities that partners are engaged in to improve job quality in the region increases.
  • Training and other supports for populations facing barriers to employment and career advancement and a commitment to racial equity and inclusion improves.

Tools

Practice: Communicate Openly and Convene Partners Regularly

Share partnership successes and challenges and identify opportunities for continuous learning and improvement.

What success looks like

  • Training, funding priorities, policies, and practices better meet employer and worker needs.
  • Programs and services are more accessible.
  • Outcomes for frontline workers and people of color improve.

Tools

Practice: Invest in Frontline Worker Supports and Services

Expand roles like retention specialists, job coaching, resource navigators. Advocate for increased supportive services such as housing, transportation, and childcare.

What success looks like

  • More diversity among workers participating in and successfully completing education and training programs.
  • Better education, employment, and advancement outcomes for frontline workers and those facing disparities in the labor market.

Tools