Sector Strategies

 Sector strategies are regional, industry-focused approaches to building skilled workforces and are among the most effective ways to align public and private resources to address the talent needs of employers. While the approach is not new, there is a growing body of evidence showing that sector strategies can simultaneously improve employment opportunities for job seekers and the competitiveness of industries....At the heart of sector strategies are sector partnerships (sometimes referred to as industry partnerships, workforce collaboratives or regional skills alliances, among others). These partnerships are led by businesses—within a critical industry cluster—working collaboratively with workforce areas, education and training, economic development, labor, and community organizations. Sector partnerships are the vehicles through which industry members voice their critical human resource needs and where customized regional solutions for workers and businesses are formed. (Source:  Workforce GPS/New Sectors Skill Building Materials).



The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) has catalyzed the development of promising and new best practices as states and regions move to implement changes in their workforce development systems.  Best practice sector strategies are based in part on diverse data sets indicating industry sectors that are growing, expected to grow, highly-concentrated, or emerging regionally. These data also offer insight into regional demographics, education and credential attainment, and other factors that help regions better understand their talent pools. Validated and vetted data becomes the foundation for selecting targeted sectors and developing strategies for building the workforce those sectors need.



Employer engagement is a foundational component of sector strategy development as talent pipeline strategies for key industries must be driven by employers’ stated needs. Connecting with employers and building deep and sustained industry partnerships enables the workforce system to appreciate industry trends and dynamics, understand employers’ training and workforce needs, solicit feedback on and guidance to the system, and implement value-added strategies and services that address industries’ identified workforce needs.



Measuring success is a critical component to the continuous improvement process and to meeting required accountability standards. Assessing the impacts of sector strategies efforts for both employer and job seeker/worker customers – beyond program-based performance measures – is central to ensuring that those strategies deliver meaningful and valued results from customers’ perspectives. 



WWRC's primary sector strategy at this time is aligned with a Virginia-awarded Career Pathways for People with Disabilities (CPID) federal grant initiative targeting the Manufacturing Industry administered by DARS; as part of this grant initiative, a DARS employee has been embedded within VMA to facilitate critical industry linkages with education, training, and workforce preparation.  Other sector strategies will be introduced strategically over time as part of overall business engagement initiatives.  




Manufacturing Industry