Sector strategies for workforce development are employer-led partnerships within a single industry that bring together government, education, training, economic development, and other community organizations to focus on the needs of that industry, within a regional labor market.
In general, sector strategies/partnerships can:
- Address current and emerging skills gaps. Sector strategies offer a mechanism to focus comprehensively on workforce skills and developing a talent pipeline.
- Provide a way to engage directly with industry across traditional, or artificial, boundaries. Businesses operate in economic regions that may cross city, county, and state lines, as well as education and economic development areas. Sector strategies work across the boundaries to identify and address specific needs of both large and small employers in any industry.
- Better align public partner programs and resources serving employers and workers. Public partners can reduce inefficiencies, coordinate expertise and bring together resource streams to provide employers with comprehensive solutions.
North Carolina sector strategies:
- Are employer-led, regionally-based collaboratives that give industry a voice. N.C. sector strategies have employers define and set the agenda. This forum offers a mechanism for business leaders to identify issues important to them and allows public partners to efficiently focus scarce resources on industries that are major job providers in an area.
- Represent a model that is jointly endorsed by the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the NC Community College System, the NC Department of Public Instruction, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, and the NC Chamber.
Learn what N.C. industry-led sector partnerships can accomplish by reading the examples of the regional partnerships/strategies below.
For more information about North Carolina's sector strategies, contact:
N.C. Division of Workforce Solutions
N.C. Department of Commerce
Attn: NC Sector Strategies Coordinator
4316 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-4316
Phone: (800) 562-6333
The Greater Cumberland County Health Sector Partnership (GCCSP) launched in 2018 as the state’s first industry-led partnership of its kind. Over 30 employers participated, including Cape Fear Valley Health, Womack Army Medical Center, First Health of the Carolinas, and the VA. Working with public partners including the Cumberland County Workforce Development Board, Fayetteville Technical Community College, the Fayetteville-Cumberland Economic Development Corporation and others, the partnership accomplished the following:
- Helped bring the evidence-based Motivating Adolescents through Technology to Choose Health (MATCH) program to over 3,400 seventh-grade students in Cumberland County Public Schools.
- Received a $250,000 Golden LEAF grant to help increase the number of graduates from post-secondary Nursing programs in the Sandhills region. The partnership identified attrition as a significant issue for Nursing students and teamed up with Southern Regional Area Health Education Center (SR-AHEC), Fayetteville Technical CC, Bladen CC, Campbell University, UNC-Pembroke, Methodist University, Fayetteville State University, Robeson CC, Richmond CC, St. Andrews University, Central Carolina CC, Sandhills CC and Sampson CC to improve graduation rates.
Note: The employers elected to suspend the healthcare partnership in March 2020 to focus on combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Foothills Manufacturing Alliance (McDowell, Polk, Burke & Rutherford counties) launched in November 2019, originally known as the Western Region Manufacturing Partnership.
This partnership initially identified five opportunity areas for action: marketing and promoting careers in manufacturing; creating a business-to-business network of regional manufacturers; creating a series of tours and events showcasing the industry to the region; building a strong foundation of technical skills in regional education programs; and tapping into new labor force populations.
From these categories, the partnership achieved the following successes:
- Business-to-business network for local area manufacturers established.
- Local manufacturers opened their facilities to one another to share best practices and look for ways to collaborate.
- Direct communication link between multiple public partners and industry leaders established to align resources and expertise in the region.
- Employers collaborated to design a new type of facility tour to better engage and inform the K-12 student population.
- Employers explored marketing strategies to enhance the image of manufacturing and inform the region about local employment opportunities. Several traveled to a BMW plant together to learn best practices in showcasing an industry.
- Employers worked with Isothermal Community College and NCWorks to hold a job fair in 2021.
The Cape Fear Manufacturing Partnership (Pender, New Hanover, Brunswick and Columbus counties) launched in December 2020. Over 20 industry leaders eagerly discussed opportunities and issues within manufacturing. Although there were many areas of interest, the following areas were identified for joint action with regional public partners:
- Elevating the industry to showcase career opportunities in today’s manufacturing
- Aligning talent supply to demand by working with regional schools and public partners
Partners formed two employer-led task teams to identify specific action items and have made the following progress:
- Named their collaborative the Cape Fear Manufacturing Partnership
- Established a business-to-business network of manufacturers
- Identified an employer steering committee / leadership team
- Created a joint letter announcing who they are and their goals
- Developing outreach and awareness of their industry
- Creating a web page / social media account to highlight manufacturing in their region.
- Creating a joint promotional video on manufacturing with the regional community colleges and UNC-Wilmington
- Created a generic career ladder to showcase career opportunities in the industry.
- Met with regional schools to outline types of cooperation
- Invited regional K-12 teachers to visit manufacturers
For more information on this partnership, email firstname.lastname@example.org.