Spotlight on Sector Strategies

Coworkers working together over a table

For more than 20 years, AIR has worked to provide evaluation, research, and technical assistance at the local, state, and federal levels across workforce and education sectors to support the development of sector strategies to meet critical workforce needs across industries.

Sector strategies are an industry-driven, public-private partnership tool to support the growth of healthy economies through the development of skilled workers.

These approaches are based on strong engagement and direction from industry regarding the skills they currently need and those projected for key occupations in their industry. 

AIR understands that as market forces shift, industry staffing needs and career-seeker training needs change; therefore, approaches to sector strategies must be reevaluated.

Through research and extensive technical assistance work across the country, the AIR team has witnessed the importance of implementing some of the critical elements of our existing framework, as well as identified important additions.

As a result, we have expanded our understanding and insight around three key areas of sector strategies work:

Number one

It is important to underpin sector strategies with a common framework and principles, but success happens through regional/local definitions, implementation, and innovation;

Number two

Sector strategies can only impact at scale if the design and delivery of the programming meets both employer and worker needs; and

Number three

Sector strategies are a tool for driving equity by including historically marginalized populations in career opportunity and advancement, expansion of labor pools to meet employer needs, and development of communities in which all citizens have a road to prosperity.


The Sector Strategies Framework

This insight, coupled with AIR’s dedicated research on the impacts and outcomes of sectoral training programs, has informed the development of a refined AIR 2023 Sector Strategies Framework.

The framework communicates:

  • The value of sector strategies work;
  • Guiding principles to find regional solutions; and
  • Elements necessary for successful implementation.