Next Generation Sector Partnership Community of Practice

Community of Practice

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about THe National NExt Gen Sector Partnership Community Of practice

The National Next Gen Community of Practice provides an opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and exchange among next gen practitioners across the country.

The Community of Practice includes webinars featuring national experts and opportunities for peer exchange, tips and resources delivered to your inbox monthly, and other networking opportunities with sector partnership leaders across the country, including an annual Next Gen Sector Partnership Academy.

At the first national Next Gen Sector Partnership Academy in Phoenix, over two hundred and fifty practitioners from a dozen states across the country gathered to learn the practical tips and strategies behind next generation sector partnerships and to exchange with peers convening the country's leading sector partnerships. Start building your team now for the 2019 Academy--dates and locations to be announced soon. Keep the conversation going. We hope you will join us and subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates on upcoming events. 


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Upcoming: mark your calendar

Next Gen Office Hours. This is your opportunity to bring your question or challenge to the attention of the Next Gen staff, and get troubleshooting advice that you can use immediately.  We know that as you move forward with your Next Gen partnership-building, issues arise and getting timely feedback and practical advice can make all the difference.

October 17th at 10am PST/ 1pm EST, Join John Melville

Call in at (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID: 774 718 8472

November 21st at 11am PST/ 2pm EST, Join Lindsey Woolsey

Call in at (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID: 774 718 8472

December 17th at 12pm PST/ 3pm EST, Join Francie Genz

Call in at (646) 876-9923 Meeting ID: 774 718 8472

Please RSVP Here



Previous Community of practice webinars

Refresh & Recap: The What, Why and How of Next Gen Sector Partnerships. A recap the high points of the Academy, including the nuts and bolts of the Next Gen model, how it's different, and how to successfully launch a sector partnership. If you have colleagues or partners who couldn't attend the Academy in person or you are looking for a refresher, this webinar provides a great overview about the Next Gen model.

View webinar recording here.

A Discussion with Business Leaders. Business leaders from diverse regional economies across the nation who are leading Next Gen Sector Partnerships discuss why they participate, what keeps them involved, and how their partnerships have become a magnet for business participation. 

View webinar recording here.

The What, Why, and How of Next Gen Sector Partnerships. An introduction to the nuts and bolts of the next gen model, how it's different from traditional employer engagement approaches, and how to successfully launch a sector partnership.

Find a recording of the webinar here.

So How Do I Get Started? This webinar covers proven steps and practical advice for moving forward with a Next Gen Sector Partnership. This webinar is designed for teams who are beginning to plan to launch a sector partnership.

Find webinar slides here.

The After Party: What to Do After You've Launched a Next Gen Sector Partnership. Hear from experienced practitioners, share your experiences, get your questions answered, and learn about tools that you can use to navigate the critical transition from launch to action.

Download webinar slides here and find a recording of the webinar here.

Scaling at the State-Level: How States have Successfully Scaled Next Gen Sector Partnerships. Aligned state leaders play a critical role in establishing a vision, building momentum and supporting a network of partnerships across a state. This webinar is an opportunity to engage with and learn from the nation's top state leaders who have successfully scaled sector partnerships.

Download webinar slides here and find a recording of the webinar here


Toolkit tips

New toolkit tips are released regularly via our monthly update. Please subscribe today to get the latest tips! Prior tips are found below. 

Green Lights and Red Flags. How do you know your sector partnership is on the right track? Watch for the signs.

Are there more "do-ers" than "talkers"? Are more partners contributing time and investments? Are your leaders using their influence to affect change? This tool gives you an easy way to know when you're on your way to being truly industry-driven and sustainable.

But watch out! There are red flags too that can be early warning signs that your partnership is about to fizzle. Business leaders not showing up anymore? Is the Partnership's agenda feeling stagnant? Are you dependent on grants to be up and running? Skim the Next Gen Green Lights-Red Flags tool for more.

The Importance of a Convener. What does it take to successfully staff the launch of a partnership and set it up for success over-time? A convener or co-convening arrangement is critical! 

Whether you are searching for the "right" convener for a new partnership or already actively convening a partnership, it is important to remember that effective conveners are: 

  • Well-trusted by the full regional support team and business community. 

  • Willing to set aside personal agendas for the good of the group, and have a track record of doing so. 

  • Action-orientated and able to facilitate in support of the industry-identified priorities. 

  • A champion for following the process to develop the business-driven table and support the partnership. 

Visit the Convener Job Description Tool to learn more about the important role conveners play as coordinators, communicators, connectors, and facilitators, as well as details on their roles and responsibilities throughout the life-cycle of a partnership

Play Our Roles Just Right. At your "launch party" industry showed up, then rose up as champions to volunteer for one or more shared priorities for action. As public partners, you played the role of quiet observers, giving the business leaders space to identify and commit to their priorities. Now, you're not sure how you should approach the next stage. It's a classic Goldilocks problem: as public partners, we don't want to come in "too hot" or "too cold" in working with industry champions, but want to play our roles "just right."

How long do we hold back? When do we plug in and help? Well, it depends.  We provide guidance in Step 5 of the Next Gen Toolkit. However, here are some basic do’s and don'ts for navigating this unfamiliar terrain:

1. DO continue giving industry champions the time and space to talk with one another about their priorities. After launch, follow‐up phone calls and in‐person meetings among businesses should continue to have the industry‐led quality of the launch meeting, rather than the feel that public partners are taking over.

2. DON’T jump in with quick solutions before businesses have come to a strong, collective view of what they want to achieve. Even if your ideas are good ones, they will never be implemented if industry champions haven't had an opportunity to explore their own ideas and develop a curiosity about what other ideas might work.

3. DO begin to ask industry champions clarifying questions. Help them define what success looks like and possible early wins. However, you must do this without putting your "thumb on the scale" and leading them to your desired outcomes and actions.

4. DON’T just throw public partners together with industry champions without careful thought. Think about who on your team of public partners would be best "first responders." These team members should be willing to work with industry champions as partners (vs. customers), draw out the ideas of champions, and carefully mix in their ideas for collaborative action.

Remember to use the "ownership test."  If you are unsure about your next steps with industry, ask yourself the following: “Is what I am about to do going to enhance or diminish the level of ownership that industry champions have in their own sector partnership?”

This tip is adapted from an article by Next Gen founders for the State of Nebraska's Next Generation Industry Partnerships Quarterly Newsletter (March 2018).

Getting Relevant Information to the Frontlines. Active sector partnerships are an excellent source of real-time information on pressing industry needs and opportunities. How do you ensure that information is shared throughout your organization and, ultimately, having a positive impact on jobseekers and students? What does it take to translate industry insights into real changes and program improvements across your organization? Module 3 provides great tips and simple exercises around developing internal communication strategies. Visit for ideas on how your partnership can help best serve students and jobseekers on the frontlines.

What comes after the Launch? You've launched. Now what? Take a look at the Next Gen Toolkit for tips on building industry-led action teams to advance priorities, and pulling in the right public partners to support. You can find tips for action team-building as well as a step-by-step process of forming Action Teams by visiting the toolkit at

Defining the Scope of Your Sector Partnership. What's the ideal scope of a sector partnership? How big is too big? And how small is too small? Click here for tips on getting the scope just right. And visit the Next Gen Toolkit for more details on how to define the industry and get the geography right as you plan to launch a new sector partnership.

What are Next Gen Sector Partnerships anyway? Are your colleagues wondering what sector partnerships are all about? Why should you include economic developers or education partners as part of your team? Are you getting stuck asking business leaders to participate? Find the top 5 myths about engaging business leaders and answers to all of those frequently asked questions in Module 1 of the Training Manual. You can find the direct link here.