Many businesses are already rethinking how to recruit, train and hire workers. These businesses are finding that partnerships that allow them to be involved in the student’s education and provide real, hands-on experience are helping them to be more successful.

Community college partnerships are a strategy that can incorporate the above trends to improve the alignment between economic and workforce development.

To meet the challenge, skills development should be aligned with the following issues:

1. Business and Regional Hiring Needs

As a number of employers express difficulty in finding workers that fit their needs, successful partners understand the hiring needs of a business or regional industry. This could include aligning training with needs such as the opening of a new location or the aging of a workforce in a business or regional industry.

2. Local Economic Development Goals

It is critical that skills development supports local economic development goals and visions. Building out local economic goals, set by outside groups such as an economic development board or mayor, will require alignment with training at the local level to support these goals and lure or expand potential businesses or industries.

3. Industry Sector Partnerships

In some communities, employers of all sizes have come together to form industry sector partnerships. Through these partnerships, industry leaders define common skill needs, certifications and credentials that are valued by the businesses. This information can be shared with community colleges so their training programs are aligned with the employer’s needs.