2019 Next Generation Sector Partnership Academy - Moving Colorado Sector Partnerships to Scale

March 11, 2019 - In February, nine Colorado sector partnership teams joined practitioners from more than 21 states at the 2019 Next Generation Sector Partnership Academy in Austin, Texas, to learn the best strategies for building and growing strong relationships with businesses, workforce, education, and other community partners for a greater economic impact.

Colorado is the flagship state for Next Generation sector partnerships. Since 2005, Colorado has worked collaboratively to promote the sector partnership model as a promising approach to partnering across business, workforce, education, and economic development and to effectively prepare Coloradans for the workforce. Representatives from across Colorado included: Northern Colorado Manufacturing, Denver Metro Retail, Greater Metro Denver Healthcare Partnership, Southwest Healthcare, Northeastern Colorado Manufacturing, Northern Colorado Healthcare, Denver Early Childhood, Boulder/Broomfield Technology, and Denver Metro Technology. All were eager to advance their sector partnership’s industry-led priorities.

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The Colorado contingent at the academy in Austin, TX.

Collectively the Colorado team wanted to learn about strategies to engage businesses and grow their partner table. They learned about the underlying problems which make collaboration difficult and what can be done to resolve the consequences when there isn't a common point of accountability. They also learned about what keeps businesses engaged in order to ensure the sector partnership is sustainable and thriving.  

Best practices were shared by national leaders and from new and matured sector partnerships. During the general session, a business panelist reflected on his partnership’s evolution, stating, “a critical change happened in our partnership when we determined that it’s not how we get talent, but how do we develop talent.” There were many other success stories and “aha” moments shared throughout the event. Here are just a few:

“The model works when you work it."
The Next Generation practitioners and faculty shared the four operating principles and four critical success factors for sector partnerships.

“It’s a discipline that is about people and relationships.”
Communicating, coordinating, and connecting is crucial to a strong sector partnership.

“Build a support team.”
You must have a diverse representation of support partners, including education, workforce, and economic development.

“Business knows that when their industry is bolstering, their community is also successful.”
Businesses are driven by the needs of industry, and they want to grow.

Join the Statewide Sectors Network on March 26 to hear more from the Colorado teams about their key takeaways from the academy and discuss next steps for integrating what we've learned to strengthen and scale sector partnerships,

Access resources from the academy.

Learn more about the impact of sector partnerships in Colorado.