Next Generation Sector Partnership Community of Practice

About Next Gen Sector Partnerships

Next Generation Sector Partnerships


What Are Next Gen Sector Partnerships? 


Next Generation Sector Partnerships are partnerships of businesses, from the same industry and in a shared labor market region, who work with education, workforce development, economic development and community organizations to address the workforce and other competitiveness needs of the targeted industry. 

Now is the time! Community partners across the nation are facing increased pressure to engage industry more deeply:

  • Secondary and post-secondary educational institutions are being called to engage with industry and align their curriculum and programming in new innovative ways. 

  • Workforce Development Boards are being called upon to increase partnerships with industry through sector partnerships in the new federal legislation (WIOA). 

  • Economic development organizations are experiencing a renewed interest in talent and skills as keys to economic vitality.

The partnership acts as a "shared table" for business leaders to collaborate with a range of public partners and for public partners to work together to align programs to industry needs.

The partnership acts as a "shared table" for business leaders to collaborate with a range of public partners and for public partners to work together to align programs to industry needs.

Photo Credit: Pam Lindley, City of Phoenix

Photo Credit: Pam Lindley, City of Phoenix


Key Features of Next Gen Sector Partnerships

Industry-led. Agendas are based on industry-determined priorities, not public programs.

Community-supported.  Public partners from workforce development, economic development, education and others work together to convene and support Next Gen Sector Partnerships. 

Sustainable over time. Since Next Gen Sector Partnerships are organized around the topic that interests business leaders most--what it takes to ensure that their company thrives--they are sustainable over time. 

Is your partnership Next Gen? Review the indicators of Next Gen Sector Partnerships here.


Next Gen Partnerships Show Impact

Over seventy-five Next Gen Sector Partnerships exist across the country. A dozen states have embraced the Next Gen approach as a means of building sustained and authentic partnerships with business and industry. Here is what these partnerships are achieving:

  • The Gallatin Valley Manufacturing Partnership in Bozeman, Montana is designing a 9-day manufacturing curriculum module to be offered in local high schools throughout the region. The curriculum was developed by a team of manufacturers working with education partners and will be taught by guest instructors from regional manufacturing companies. It includes guest speakers, field trips to local manufacturing companies, and classes offered by Gallatin Community College.


  • The Phoenix Advanced Business Services Sector Partnership has created an industry-led speakers bureau to promote career opportunities in the industry among students, parents, and career advisors.To date, the Partnership has arranged for speakers to attend events for students, jobseekers, and career advisors with parter organizations throughout Phoenix.


  • The East Bay Advanced Manufacturing Partnership in California created a customized education pathway for their top critical occupations, which quickly became the common framework for multiple high schools, junior colleges and the Workforce Board to align curriculum.


  • A new Northeast Louisiana Healthcare Partnership has engaged nearly forty healthcare organizations (large hospitals and small rural clinics) in building a real career pathway system that improves advancement from CNA to LPN, including new certificate add-ons along the way. This partnership is also developing process and legal agreements for an acute care network that allows large hospitals to use under-utilized bed space and skilled nursing staff in rural hospitals.


  • The Kingman and Mohave Manufacturers Association in Arizona created a freight sharing program that allowed for regional manufacturers to coordinate shipments, saving on transportation costs. Member manufacturers also helped create a shared training space in a member company's facility, co-funded a mobile training unit for upskilling existing workers in rural manufacturing facilities, and significantly expanded existing manufacturing-related apprenticeships.

  • The Lane County Technology Collaborative, a sector partnership convened by the local workforce board in Eugene, Oregon, brings together over thirty technology companies to collectively tackle shared issue areas. In its first six months, the Collaborative successfully secured a direct flight from Eugene to Silicon Valley. Members cite this as a powerful early win that allowed them to get to the harder issues at stake: improving technology education in the K-12 system, and creating a new computer science curriculum in local colleges.


At-Scale Results

Where states have adopted strategies that help create strong, local sector partnerships, results are magnified. In Colorado:


82% of partnerships have businesses that have developed new or enhanced ideas for new products and/or markets

91% of partnerships have businesses that have found support in finding employees with the skills and experiences their business needs  

82% of partnerships have businesses that have developed new recruitment practices

Students and jobseeker

71% of partnerships increased student/jobseeker awareness of training/education programs.

62% of partnerships experienced increased program alignment across secondary, post-secondary, and/or workforce programming.

67% of partnerships enhanced existing or developed new training/education program(s).

Over 20 sector partnerships spanning all 14 economic development regions of the state.

Over 20 sector partnerships spanning all 14 economic development regions of the state.


“This is fundamentally a new way for business, education, and government to work together for the betterment of everybody. There are few opportunities to have an impact on something bigger than yourself and, for me personally, the sector partnership model is one of those if not the one.”
— Paul Harter, Aqua Hot, Business Leader in the NOCO Manufacturing Sector Partnership

We believe we can address anything the manufacturing community wants to address—we have a voice, we have some concrete wins, and we have the buy-in of the greater community. We have created this buzz because we get things done! Everybody – both private and public sector— is doing their piece.
— John Hansen, CEO, Laron Manufacturing, Kingman and Mohave Manufacturing Partnership

I think a lot of people had the will and it was about getting the people together to find the way. We did that, and now industry leaders like me know where to plug in.
— Todd Edman, CEO of LunarLogic and WaitTrainer, Lane County Technology Partnership, Eugene, OR.

This process is a game-changer. If you follow the script, it allows public and private partners alike to give up their perceived power and move into the all-in moment. Now we can’t stop the momentum.
— Meagan Lannan, Montana Workforce Services Division and Co-convener of the Gallatin Valley Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Livingston, MT

The Northern Colorado Healthcare sector partnership has been the single place that I can come together with my competitors and solve common problems.
— Yvonne Meyers, Columbine Health Systems, business leader in the NoCO Health and wellness sector partnership

The sector partnership approach is the most productive way to align the assets in your community toward a common goal and common business solutions. You will not get this working one-on-one with individual companies. The people at the table are the industry leaders and they best know their opportunities for growth, whether it is a workforce issue or a regulatory issue or an operational issue. They are the best ones to sit and discuss it.
— Jen Miles, Mohave County Workforce Development Manager

Industry wants to impact education, they want to impact workforce. This gives them that voice to do it
— Lynn Vosler, Front Range Community College

Workforce Boards are not THE experts. Our role is one of convener and bridge. We bring together the experts and empower them to do what they do best.
— Kristina Payne, Executive Director, Lane County Workforce Development Board, and Convener of Lane County Technology Partnership