Sector Boards at Iowa Western Community College
The division of Economic & Workforce Development is partnering with Iowa Western programs and departments in an effort to coordinate health care, information technology and manufacturing sector boards in Council Bluffs. Through sector board initiatives, Iowa Western strives to strengthen the capacity of the workforce systems to respond to the needs of businesses by forecasting workforce needs 3-5 years out as well as identifying current overlapping industry needs.
According to the National Association of Workforce Boards, an increasing number of workforce boards are using sectoral strategies to strengthen their outreach to the business community in their area and to build stronger links with regional economic development efforts. Success among workforce boards using this strategy points to lessons learned that can be used by other boards considering a sector approach.
What are Sector Initiatives?
Sector initiatives are long-term efforts that integrate workforce and economic development strategies. They have four defining characteristics:
1. Sector initiatives focus attention on the needs of multiple employers in a specific industry in a specific community or economic region.
2. Sector initiatives serve dual customers—delivering new solutions to employers in the target industry as well as to the workers or the unemployed who might improve both their short-and long-term economic status by providing improved staffing in the industry.
3. Sector initiatives build in-depth knowledge of the industry and design multiple solutions to staffing and competitiveness challenges facing the industry by coordinating an array of resources to improve these challenges over time.
4. Sector initiatives promote community change that achieves win-win solutions for employers and workers in the industry. These can occur through shifts in industry practice, reform of education and training systems, improvements in recruiting and support systems for entry level employees, the institution of new career ladders, and/or productivity enhance-ments throughout the industry, to name a few.