Workforce Partnerships that Work: Creating Public-Private Partnerships that Serve Students, Institutions, Employers, and Communities

  • Date : June 4, 2019 8:00 AM - June 5, 2019 12:00 PM
  • Location : Newport Beach, CA
  • Meeting Type : Summit

More than ever, students seek to invest in programs that prepare them to obtain employment in their field of study upon graduation. Meanwhile, government and corporate leaders also increase the pressure on institutions to address workforce needs. The 2019 Leadership Summit dove into the role of digital learning and effective models and partnerships for the collegiate role in producing workforce ready students.

The proliferation of educational opportunities that can fill the knowledge and skills gap between employees (both current and prospective) and employers is growing. Consequently, it is essential for institutions to innovate and shift paradigms to compete in the $90 billion employee training market. To remain competitive (or even to survive), higher education must help drive these conversations. If not, employers will rely on alternative models, including funding their own training programs.

It requires new models and thinking to design partnerships that are relevant and meaningful to the students, institutions, and employers. The workplace is becoming the “learn-place.” We in higher education and should assume the driver’s seat in the conversation rather than being left on the roadside. The Summit tackled key questions such as:

  • How can higher education institutions work with employers to provide current and in-demand programs that narrow the gaps and provide talent that is ready and skilled for workforce requirements?
  • Employers are seeking eager learners with 21st century skills – what is higher education’s role in cultivating these attributes?
  • How can higher ed and the workforce create public private partnerships that fill seats and jobs in a way that draws equal commitment and investment from the employer and the institution?
  • What are some of the innovative ways that employers are informing coursework and providing feedback on new hires?
  • Where do scalable models exist and what are funding models?
  • Can coursework be unbundled for learners looking to upskill or employers looking to provide just-in-time training?
  • Where does data exist that helps translate between good jobs and credentials/skills and gap analysis between skills and match for employability?
  • What is required for higher ed to be more dynamic, fluid, and responsive to student’s and employers demands for skills? What is the feedback loop?
  • Higher education institutions are employers too and operate much like a business; what do we want from our students if they become our employees?
  • How do we transform the traditional learn, graduate, and then work model to an interactive learn and work/learn and work model?


The action-oriented program drew leaders across higher education departments and sectors to discuss the importance of evolving our current models to remain competitive and provide access to degrees, credentials, and certificates that are relevant and valuable. Summit attendees developed three action items to bring back to their organization.

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