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    Since 2007, the Ohio Workforce Coalition has been bringing together leaders from education and training institutions, economic and workforce development organizations, business and industry, labor, and human service providers. The Coalition promotes public policies that build the skills of adult workers, meet employer skill needs, and strengthen the workforce system to ensure opportunity and prosperity for Ohio families.

In Support of State Sector Strategies

September 16, 2010

In Support of State Sector Strategies
by Jim Torrens, Insight Center for Community Economic Development / NNSP

I was recently asked to comment on the Ohio Workforce Coalition’s 2010-2012 Public Policy Platform . Among other useful suggestions, the OWC recommends that Ohio adopt a state sector strategy, which can provide important support for the growth of regional sector initiatives. NNSP has long been involved in helping states develop and adopt such strategies, and to date, more than half have. So it didn’t take too much prodding to get me to support the idea.

In case you’re interested, I’m including the rest of the commentary below.

You may have noticed, by the way, that I use two distinct terms to describe sector approaches at the state and regional level. “Sector initiatives” refers to industry-focused workforce and economic development partnerships that operate within the context of regional labor markets. In fact, a regional focus is one of the key characteristics of sector initiatives.

“Sector strategies,” on the other hand, refers to state-level policy and resource frameworks that provide support to regional sector initiatives. There’s a lot that states can do to support innovation and effectiveness at the regional level. For plenty of examples, visit http://www.sectorstrategies.org .

The commentary also gave me a chance to reflect on some of this summer’s public debate about the continuing value of job training in down economy. I had been struck by how much attention – not all of it positive – was being paid to job training, one of the main strategies used by sector initiatives to help low-income people get good jobs and industries find skilled workers. If training graduates were having difficulty finding jobs in these hard times, what did that say about job training?

For some of my thoughts on the matter, see below. Even better, why not visit the OWC’s blog and contribute your own thoughts?

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