Industry clusters are networks of firms related by common markets, supply chain, infrastructure, innovation, technology, and labor pools.

At the regional labor market level, they are partnerships of employers in one industry that bring together government, education, trainings, economic development, labor, and community organizations to focus of the workforce needs of their industry.

Sector partnerships, by definition, engage employers within a single industry to address their common workforce needs. In the best cases, sector partnership coordinators do more. They understand that by simply bringing employers in the same industry together, they trigger informal existing firms, attracting new one in job creation.

Once a target industry sector has been identified (Food Processing, Wood Manufacturing, Life Sciences, etc.) through partnership, we must get an accurate and comprehensive picture of employers’ specific current and future workforce needs.

With the appropriate analysis, regions can define the hiring needs within a particular industry by occupation (occupational demand), the skill requirements of the positions; crosswalk from one occupational classification to another (particularly useful in assisting dislocated workers in accessing appropriate re-training opportunities), and more.

When employers find effective ways to work together with the public education and training systems, particularly the small and midsized firms that are increasingly responsible for U.S. job creation, they can improve their profitability.

Bottom line, our partnerships must support business and economic growth, meet the needs for training and employment opportunities and ultimately provide a supply chain of adequately skilled and trained seekers which will meet the needs of current and future industries throughout PacMtn region.

The detailed Industry Cluster Study Final Report can be viewed here.