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Examples of Partnership Intermediaries

HIRED, Convener of M-Powered Initiative, Minneapolis, MN

HIRED is one of the most respected workforce development organizations in the Minneapolis- St. Paul metropolitan area. Founded in 1968, HIRED's mission is to provide personalized and innovative work solutions. Through a wide range of programs located in communities and neighborhoods throughout the metropolitan area, HIRED helps job seekers prepare for and obtain employment. Each year they enroll more than 8,000 people in upwards of 70 programs designed to provide direct job and skill development assistance to low-income adults, dislocated workers, people making the welfare-to-work transition, recent immigrants and youth. Through the Employer Services Division, HIRED provides customized recruitment and retention services for hundreds of employers. The HIRED staff of approximately 135 includes more than 100 professional employment counselors, trainers and job developers. Neighborhood-based, full-service offices have resource centers that include computers with Internet access and a variety of print and electronic resources to help clients explore job openings, training information and labor market information.

Keystone Development Partnership, Convener of Manufacturing and Energy Initiatives, Philadelphia, PA

The Keystone Development Partnership (KDP) is a 501(C) 3, non-profit corporation with a mission to develop and sustain joint labor/management training programs. Funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, the KDP provides assistance to all participants in cooperative efforts to build quality training and career ladder programs. The goal of the KDP is to provide resources that allow labor and management to offer quality education and training services to employees with a further goal of building superior work organizations. Many companies are losing experienced and skilled employees by way of normal attrition while they are forced to deal with newly emerging technologies at the same time. This leaves management hard-pressed to fill vacancies with a limited number of qualified applicants. With the assistance of KDP, the work organization is able to leverage its present resources to develop quality programs that build the company’s knowledge base while expanding further job opportunities and worker advancement. The success of KDP depends on its ability to facilitate joint decision-making by partnerships of employers, government agencies, education providers, labor, and other stakeholders.

Monroe Community College, Rochester NY

In better times, Monroe Community College knew where its bread was buttered. Rochester, N.Y.'s three major employers – the Eastman Kodak Company, the Xerox Corporation and Bausch & Lomb, all of which maintain major offices in the city – filled the college’s coffers, contracting it to train most of their workers. “This ‘big three’ really drove workforce development and training in the region by sheer volume,” writes Anne M. Kress, MCC’s president, in an e-mail. “One or the other might express a specific training need for literally hundreds of employees, and MCC would develop and provide this training.”

But the boom times for the stalwarts of Rochester’s economy did not last forever, and the three giants have all significantly trimmed their payrolls. Now, instead of being dominated by a few major employers, Rochester has transformed into a hub of small businesses. Kress notes that more than 90 percent of businesses in the area have fewer than 100 employees and that most of these businesses are high-tech in nature, including many with a focus in optics and advanced manufacturing, like the “big three.”

As the region’s economic landscape shifted, MCC adapted, both to keep a stream of corporate contract dollars coming in and to meet the job training needs of local residents.

“Now, we are situated to be the ‘convener’ for workforce development and training,” Kress writes. “We work with and across, for example, dozens of optics firms to identify a common skill set for future technicians in this field. We are the neutral party in the center that works to find and respond to the common interests of dozens of potentially competing companies.”  Read more at insidehighered.com.

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