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.


At-Scale Results

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


2% 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