2018 Sectors Academy Recap

Oct. 15, 2018 - Leaders and partners from sector partnerships across the state convened in Golden on Oct. 9-10 for the 2018 Sectors Academy. The CWDC was honored to host the event and help enhance our community of partnerships in Colorado. This year’s Academy focused on increasing engagement in sector partnerships to maximize their impact, and included professionals from the state’s 25 existing sector partnerships as well as representatives from new and developing partnerships. You can access resources from the event here.

The Academy kicked off with a panel of expert conveners sharing advice for successful sector partnerships. Panelists included Judy Emery with the Greater Metro Denver Healthcare Partnership, Paul Harter with the Northern Colorado Manufacturing Sector Partnership, and C.J. Rhyne with the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce. Each of the panelists shared bright spots of their own partnerships, and discussed the importance of sustainability, intentional collaboration, and being industry-led.

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From left, panelists Judy Emery, Paul Harter, and C.J. Rhyne

The next general session, led by the CWDC’s Britta Blodgett and Ryan Gensler, focused on communicating the value of your sector partnership. In addition to defining the critical functions of these partnerships, the presenters asked the audience to consider the benefits of their own work. Overwhelmingly, the audience cited collaboration as one of the greatest values of participating in a sector partnership.

After a brief overview of labor market data and forecasts for Colorado, Academy participants broke out into industry salons. In each salon, specific industry data was provided to better inform the industry’s strategies and support of their sector. Using the data and through discussion, participants shared best practices and lessons learned specific to their industry and regions, and identified goals for increasing business participation moving forward. Industry salons included:

  • Healthcare
  • Advanced Manufacturing
  • IT/Tech
  • Education/Early Childhood Education
  • Construction
  • Retail
  • Outdoor Recreation/Tourism
  • Food/Agriculture

To conclude day one of the Academy, Britta and Ryan returned to the stage for a session on selling your sector partnership. They shared the elements of a good pitch and tips for delivering an impactful, succinct message. Participants then had the chance to develop and practice their own pitches, allowing them to walk away with the tools to promote their sector partnership work in their communities.

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Sectors Academy participants work on their pitches

Day two of the Academy featured seven breakout sessions, with participants having the option of attending two sessions. Breakout sessions included:

  • Sector Partnerships 101
  • Sector Partnership Organizational Structure and Succession Planning
  • Rural Partnerships
  • Leveraging Technology to Increase Engagement
  • You Have A Great Idea – How Are You Going To Fund It?
  • The Role of Chambers and Associations in Sector Partnerships
  • Apprenticeships: A Vital Tool for Retention and Career Advancement

The sessions were engaging and the commitment of participants to learning, asking questions, challenging assumptions, and building relationships was impressive.

The Academy closed on Wednesday afternoon with a keynote presentation from Josh Gibbs and Barry Walter Jr. of the Northeast Colorado Manufacturing Partnership. The discussion centered on the successes of their own partnership as well as the highlights and takeaways of the Academy, encouraging the audience to continue collaborating.  

More than 200 participants walked away from the Academy with a deeper understanding of their industry, new ideas to implement, and action steps to increase engagement in their partnerships. The CWDC would like to thank all of the sponsors, attendees, and partners who helped make the 2018 Sectors Academy a success!

Access event resources