Introduction and Overview

Sector strategies are regionally-based, targeted industry approaches to building and sustaining economic competitiveness, and are increasingly at the center of state workforce and economic development policies. The central premise of a regional sector initiative is an employer-driven partnership that includes training providers, community organizations and other key stakeholders that convene around a specific industry. These partnerships work closely together to identify the workforce needs and solutions of that industry, allowing all stakeholders to streamline their efforts and resources.

Sector strategies foster innovation and competitive advantage in global markets through focused attention on key industries and development of extensive knowledge about those industry needs. Additionally, by focusing time and attention on the critical occupations that drive and maintain an industry’s growth, sector strategies contribute to a skilled workforce that helps employers to grow and prosper in a region. In addition, sector strategies often identify career pathways within and across key industry sectors. This can help expand middle class jobs by providing entry-level opportunities as well as subsequent paths to promotion with additional experience and expertise.

This toolkit is your guide to:
1) Determining if a sector initiative is right for your region;
2) Designing a sector initiative that builds on the needs and assets of your region;
3) Implementing and sustaining a sector initiative that meets the needs of key industries in your region, as well as the needs of workers, families and communities. 

Toolkit Organization

Part I: So you want to grow your region?

Successful sector initiatives begin with regional assessments of needs and assets in order to determine if a sector initiative will be an appropriate and effective solution. This part begins with a guide for a regional assessment and walks you through initial convening of stakeholders as partners.

Chapter 1: Deciding on a Sector Approach
Chapter 2: Regional Needs Assessment
Chapter 3: Convening and Planning

Part II: Designing a sector initiative solution

The heart of a good sector initiative is making sure the solutions are the right match for the identified needs of the target industry. This part is a step-by-step guide for facilitating the partnership toward a solution, developing a communications plan across stakeholders, planning ahead for long-term sustainability, and benchmarking for success.

Chapter 4: Managing the Partnership
Chapter 5: Marketing and Communication
Chapter 6: Sustainability
Chapter 7: Metrics and Evaluation 

Part III: Making it happen

Turning plans into reality starts with knowing where you’re going, and depends on the ability of the partnership to stay the course. This section is designed to help the convener of the partnership to maintain stakeholder engagement, facilitate progress and clarification of end-products, and develop tools that build capacity of stakeholders and their staff as needed.

Chapter 8: Maintaining the Partnership
Chapter 9: Early and Mid-Term Products 

Part IV: Keeping it going and growing

Good sector partnerships build in necessary time and tools to reflect and re-assess so that their sector-based solutions are continuously improved. This section provides references and steps to take in order to ensure that partners are learning as they go.

Chapter 10: Building Partnership Capacity
Chapter 11: Learning From the Work 

Part V: Inventory of Tools

The final section of the toolkit includes an inventory of the tools organized alphabetically, by module, and by topic area.

Chapter 12: Inventory of Tools

Taxonomy upgrade extras: