Under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), economic development entities are partners in the workforce system. 

While economic development efforts are centered around recruiting new businesses and helping existing ones expand in a region, workforce development partners assist with the expansion and retention activities of existing businesses. 

This entails sector strategies for training, skill upgrading, and other activities, as well as layoff aversion strategies.

Sector Strategies and Industry Initiatives

Industry focus groups and sector initiatives (also called sector partnerships or sector strategies) are regional, employer-driven partnerships of industry leaders, education and training consortia, and other stakeholders that focus on the workforce needs of key industries in a regional labor market.  

Sector initiatives or smaller industry focus groups rely on workforce intermediaries (or conveners) to:

  • engage employers and other key stakeholders in focus groups;
  • to develop expertise in the industry of focus; and
  • to coordinate information and resources to develop and implement effective, coordinated responses.

Industry Focus Groups and Sector-Based Approaches

Stakeholder relationships may emerge from engaging a trade association, or may develop to improve curricula, develop a new credential, address skill gaps, or better prepare a workers for technical and manufacturing careers.  

All of the strategies and approaches for job-driven results are also data-driven to ensure the best return on investment for the community.

            Workforce System 101: Eight New Online Training Modules

Explore innovative ideas and bring data to the table in discussions with employers, addressing workforce issues that you know employers want to discuss.  

Sector Strategies Technical Assistance Initiative

ETA's TA initiative is designed to showcase the opportunities ahead in building sector strategies as a key element of a successful workforce system.  ETA hopes you learn from other states and local areas who are leaders in the use of sector strategies to improve their local economies and deliver valuable solutions that support businesses. 

Use of Data to Drive High Performing Sector Strategies

Good use of labor market information (LMI) - and communicating that data well - is critical to building strong sector and industry partnerships. 

Please explore what LMI sources are most helpful to you, find where you can access relevant information, and practice how to tell a compelling story using labor data that will be responsive to the needs of employers and other partners.