Provides recommendations for workforce boards and community colleges that work in partnership to develop industry-aligned credentials and career pathways for unemployed and underemployed individuals, based on lessons learned from U.S. Department of Labor Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grantees in Wisconsin, Washington, Virginia, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Minnesota.

“This report describes the activities and [sector] strategies of a wide variety of partnerships between community colleges and workforce boards, with key takeaways…that can assist other community colleges and workforce organizations to solidify their collaborations and further their mutual goals….

Building such partnerships is an essential element of the U.S. Department of Labor grant program called Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT). This program provided nearly $2 billion over a seven-year period to help the nation’s community colleges deliver industry-aligned credentials for unemployed and underemployed adults.

Many of the examples in this report illustrate partnerships that emerged out of TAACCCT, while others are longstanding relationships that pre-dated the program.

The first set of stories focuses on statewide and regional efforts to identify needs in the local labor market and to develop programs to meet them. The second set delves into the activities and lessons learned from serving ‘common customers’—individual students, employers, and jobseekers. In most cases, these two purposes are not mutually exclusive, and colleges and public workforce agencies come together to do both. But looking at them separately is helpful for homing in on the particular activities needed in each instance” (p.1-2).

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

Grantees used a variety of methods to organize and implement their TAACCCT grants, such as a 14-member pathways committee, a joint leadership position between the community college and workforce board to coordinate the collection of labor market data, and using the workforce board as a convener to bring employers together. “The common thread in these stories, whether the focus is service delivery or labor market planning, is that, like all relationships, successful partnerships don’t happen overnight. They require deliberate planning, focus, time, and resources” (p.2). Recommendations include: •“Align the work of the partnership with the goals and priorities of other large-scale statewide or regional initiatives” (p.9). •“Jointly and strategically engage employer partners” (p.10). •“Establish common metrics, outcome goals, and data collection methods” (p.10). •“Build leader-to-leader and staff-to-staff relationships” (p.10). •“Have a written agreement” (p.10). •“Develop strategies together for recruitment of target populations to broaden the reach of marketing efforts and to maximize resources” (p.10). •“Develop staff knowledge of each other’s systems” (10). •“Recognize that as staff leave and positions change, the staff will need regular training about the roles of partnering organizations.” (p.11). •“Taking advantage of times of transition in𠊊n organization’s leadership or staff can offer opportunities to change the working relationship between partners, and further revise efforts” (p.11). •“Continue to build and maintain systems of communication and be sure that communication is occurring at all levels—from executive leaders to direct service staff—through regular meetings and other channels” (p.11). •“Recognize that a strong level of trust between the organizations is essential to long-term accomplishments and act in ways that foster that trust” (p.11). •“Establish specific methods of communication (newsletters, project updates, federal guidance, and potential meetings) across both organizations” (p.11). •“While the advantages of partnerships between community colleges and workforce boards are clear, success in any solid relationship takes work” (p.11). (Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)